KOSCIUSKO, Miss.–In central Mississippi on 9/11, many leaders were concerned, but not panicked. There were and still are not many towns or cities with targets that might be of interest to the hijackers who destroyed the World Trade Center towers and slammed a jet into the Pentagon. But, in the months and years that followed, cities like Kosciusko were able to use some of the federal money provided by Homeland Security.
Some of the improvements that came with that money are helping protect you, even 20 years later.
“We have gotten several thousand dollars, if my memory is correct, over the period since then with Homeland Security funds, especially for the police and fire,” said former Kosciusko mayor Jimmy Cockroft, who remembers watching the attack at home, then going to work and being reminded about big natural gas lines south of town.
“Any kind of forest responders we got funds and funding for.”
Cockroft said it’s more than the money that counts when it comes to those first responders, though. The events in New York and Washington, where millions of people watched firefighters and police put themselves in danger, and some even died, to protect and rescue people, brought more respect to people in those fields.
“It sure brought a light to first responders. You still see stuff today about how critical and how important they are,” he said. “It took a national tragedy for them to get any recognition.”
Cockroft said that mayors and other leaders became more aware after 9/11. Cockroft was asked what he took away from the era.
“I think our awareness of our surroundings and things that could happen and being more alert to things that can happen, nt just here locally, but everywhere,” he said.
Tomorrow you’ll read what Congressman Michael Guest says about how what’s happening in Afghanistan may be cause to be alert again.