On September 11, a band of Arab terrorists flew hijacked planes into the World Trade Center, The Pentagon and a field in western Pennsylvania, an event that precipitated two wars, $4 trillion dollars in expenditures and the death of 6,570 American soldiers.
On November 21, 2001, Noah Adams and his team profiled Parkesburg, where thirty-five hundred died. Here is the recording: The Voices of Parkesburg: Pennsylvania Town’s Population Mirrors Lives Lost Sept. 11
From NPR’s website:
Nov. 21, 2001 — Recently revised estimates show that about 3,500 lives were lost on Sept. 11 — thousands of lives shattered, families torn apart, voices forever lost.
All Things Considered host Noah Adams recently visited the southeastern Pennsylvania town of Parkesburg — population about 3,500 — to put the loss in perspective. He met mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, whole generations carrying the legacy of a long-established family name and newcomers drawn by the slow, intimate pace of a true community.
The Pennsylvania Railroad transformed this former farming community into a town, but it’s still surrounded by farms. Some of those farms are tended by Amish families. But despite its bucolic surroundings, the town is quietly changing.
Commuters are moving in, undaunted by the 43-mile one-way trip into Philadelphia. New businesses are replacing farming, machining and steel — jobs that drew immigrants generations ago from Ireland, Croatia, Italy.
What Noah Adams found was a town full of diverse stories — some intertwined with their neighbor’s own stories, some uniquely their own. Stories of hope and memories, of life going on as usual, seemingly unaffected by the air attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and a third air crash in a Pennsylvania field not too far from the town.
But as Adams found out, Parkesburg’s people are trying to sort out the events of Sept. 11, and the path life should follow in the aftermath, just like most other Americans.
He found a town quietly determined to carry on — to keep rehearsals for the high school musical on schedule, get to work on time, start the breakfast shift at the Little Chef restaurant.