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Locals remember Sept. 11, 2001

Most everyone all over the world remembers where he or she was seven years ago today.

Some were at their jobs. Some were at the airports. Others were at school, and some were even beginning a disaster drill in Thorsby.

However, what they were doing didn’t matter too much shortly after 8 a.m. here in Chilton County. Two planes hijacked by terrorists were flown into New York’s World Trade Center, causing the buildings to collapse. Another hijacked plane damaged a section of the Pentagon in Washington. Another was crashed in a field in Pennsylvania in an attempt to thwart hijackers from causing more destruction.

In September 2001, Jemison Police Chief Brian Stilwell was in the middle of his year away from public safety. He was managing a restaurant/bar in Montgomery called Sports Rock Café receiving a food order when he learned about it.

Stilwell said many of his customers were firefighters and police officers. At that time seven years ago, they were being dispatched to New York to respond to the disaster.

“I wanted to go and help,” Stilwell said. “September 11 was one of the events that helped me decide to get back into public safety.”

Shortly after the attacks Stilwell came to Clanton to return to law enforcement.

Shane Fulmer was still working at the Chilton County Sheriff’s Department. He was in the Chilton County Courthouse talking with Betty Porter.

When they heard that one plane had hit the Trade Center, they turned on a TV and watched as the second plane hit.

“We just sat there and watched for two or three hours,” Fulmer said.

Shortly after the attacks they received alerts from the federal government to step up security around Mitchell and Lay dams. They also received numerous calls from people reporting any kind of suspicious activity.

Stilwell said Sept. 11, 2001 is probably the one event that everyone will remember in this generation.

“It’s kind of like what happened when our parents witnessed the Kennedy assassination. Everyone knew what they were doing at that moment,” Stilwell said.