KOSCIUSKO, Miss.–Jimmy Cockroft had been mayor of Kosciusko, for four years by the morning of 9/11. When the first plane hit he hadn’t left the house for work yet. He recalled that day and the days after in an interview with Boswell Media this week.
“I just kind’ve stood there stunned with Linda, like, what in the world has happened,” he said. Cockroft was feeling the same as many Americans on that morning. But, unlike most people, he had a city to run, and soon had to go into work and began taking stock of the situation.
Kosciusko doesn’t have tall buildings that would make it an obvious target. But, Cockroft said he was alerted in conversation to something else that could be problematic.
“We don’t have tall buildings, but we’ve got one heck of a gas line that runs though here, big natural gas lines,” he said. “When you start thinking about wanting to really mess up the infrastructure, what somebody could do…it makes you more leery.”
He noted that if the pipeline were disrupted, it could affect millions of people, not just central Mississippi.
Cockroft recalled getting calls from the state and from the public.
“It was so chaotic that a lot of people didn’t know what to do locally.”
He described it as chaotic for weeks after the attacks, because people across the state were still trying to assess what might be vulnerable.
“Maybe not that day, but I do remember getting a lot of calls about what our plans were, what were we doing. Heck we were sitting there trying to figure it out ourselves at the time.”
Tomorrow you’ll find out how central Mississippi benefitted from what the federal government set in motion after 9/11, and why first responders roles were suddenly recognized as important.