September 11, 2011

Sept. 11 marks time of local conflict, too

This date has a great deal of historical significance. Few in the world are unaware of the events that drove 9/11/2001 into our psyches with an indelible stamp. Meanwhile, most people in the world are unaware of the events that we now call the Battles of Plattsburgh, culminating in the Sept. 11 conflict on Plattsburgh Bay in 1814.

It's not for lack of trying. Commemorations have taken place in this region for many years. As the 200th anniversary approaches, there is more and more local effort toward cementing the significance of Sept. 11 for us and those who don't live here. May I take this opportunity to thank all those who have worked so diligently toward that end.

There are other dates that evoke happy and sad memories for all of us. Some involve our nation's wars. Others invoke personal memories connected with the lives and deaths of family and friends. Still others are related to weather. I remember a horrendous hurricane that struck Rockland and Westchester counties when I was a child. A giant tree toppled in our yard. I pictured an angry giant pulling it out by the roots.

I recall terrible snowstorms when we lived in Massena Center with drifts piled to the top of the telephone poles. I won't soon forget the major weather events that have occurred since I began my radio career in Plattsburgh in 1961. Big snows; the infamous ice storm of '98; and 8-foot-tall ice jams behind our house in Morrisonville, causing floods in the community. During those frightening days, I often suspended regular radio programming and opened the telephone lines for hours. I wish I had recorded those conversations for posterity.

Times have changed. During Hurricane Irene's devastation in Clinton and adjacent counties, I was disappointed to note that it took several days for the national media to get the word that we were in trouble. In our modern world of instant communication, they just weren't told of our plight. It was almost like we didn't exist. I was afraid that help for those in need wouldn't be forthcoming in a speedy manner. By midweek, the word finally got out and we showed up on the big map.

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