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Sunday, Apr. 20, 2014

Attacks still on minds of many

Wednesday, September 11, 2002

SIKESTON -- It's been exactly one year since the attacks. While car magnets aren't as visible as once before and news of the attacks was replaced with other news over recent months, last year's Day of Terror has never really left the minds of the American public.

"I've been absolutely awestruck by the love that we've shown each other," said Sandra Schaller, associate pastor of First United Methodist Church. "There's been a heightened consciousness. People are more sensitive now than they were a year ago."

Schaller said she feels values are in place. People are valuing God, family and freedom, she said. It may not be through tangible items, but it's there, she assured.

The nation's also seen a rise in church attendance. "We've seen an increase in attendance all throughout the year. Of course the biggest increase was right after Sept. 11," Schaller said.

Schaller added that sometimes tragedy helps make a person -- and nation in our case -- stronger. She noted that it's possible for good things to come out of tragedies.

Take for instance Buzz Ferrell of Sikeston and Sarah Poff, formerly of East Prairie. Both saw Sept. 11 as a way to reach others through their expressions of art.

On the night of the attacks, Ferrell drew a sketch of a sculpture he envisioned while thinking about the day's events. "When the incidents happened, I was thinking about what I could do to help and what I would do if I was there," he recalled. "I wondered how the firemen and police in our own area would've reacted in the same situation. I just wanted to do something."

After nearly six months of work, Ferrell completed the metal sculpture. Ferrell didn't know how to weld when he began the project so he taught himself along the way.

The sculpture consists of a detailed flag flown at half-mast, a fireman's helmet and a police hat that sit in rubble that resembles the Ground Zero site.

His original destination for the sculpture was New York City, but since they'd received so many items, he donated the sculpture to Sikeston City Hall, where it's currently on display.

Poff is trying to reach a younger audience with her work. On Sept. 12, she was driving home from work when she heard Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA" on the radio. Voice-overs were being played with it, she said.

"One of the people in the voice-over said, 'I looked up and all I saw were the faces,'" Poff remembered. "I immediately had a painting in my head."

Poff, an elementary school art teacher in Lee's Summit, put her finished painting on display at the Blue Springs Fun Fest and received many offers from people to purchase the painting. She refused to sell it and admits it opened up a possibility to help others.

Poff painted a total of 60 colorful, paintings from a child's perspective that referred to 9-11. A suggestion by a friend to make the paintings into a children's book turned into a goal for Poff and her husband Alec. They also decided to make a video that coincides with the book.

Twenty-five of the paintings are used in Poff's book and video, "It was a Bright and Sunny Day (9-11-01)," which is about a little girl who loses her father in the attacks at the World Trade Center. By the end of the book, the girl and her mother learn how to go on with their daily lives. For each book or video purchased, a child in New York who lost a parent on 9-11 will also receive a book or video, Poff said.

As family members of Sept. 11 victims will try to get through the day, so will the rest of the nation. Several memorial services are being held across the area today.

Ferrell thinks the nation should look on the positive side of the impact of Sept. 11. Everyone came together as one, he said.

"I don't think we need to relive Sept. 11 today." Ferrell explained, "We shouldn't forget it, but we don't need to relive it. We should get the patriotism up instead."