Community seeks to remember significance of 9/11

By Eric Butler: PNT staff writer

Portales businessman David Stone, like many, can remember exactly what he was doing when terrorist attacks occurred on Sept. 11, 2001. What he fears is the significance of that day is starting to wane.

“When it happened, we thought no one would ever forget it,” said Stone, president of Portales National Bank. “Time has a way of making people forget things. People are no longer afraid.”

Friday at 7:30 a.m., Stone’s business will serve as the location for the Portales 9/11 Memorial Remembrance ceremony. It’s an event he’s organized every year since the one-year anniversary in 2002.

“I was out at the ranch, I hadn’t come to work yet,” recalled Stone of that dark day eight years ago. “I was just in disbelief. I remember seeing President Bush, when he was talking to a second grade class I think, when he was told about it.

“He just had this look of disbelief on his face. That’s kind of how all of us felt,” Stone added.

Stone knows most still remember the attacks. What Stone says he’s concerned about is complacence and the chance something similar could happen again.

“We were thinking we were invincible,” Stone said. “Even the Japanese never got close to attacking New York City (in World War II).”

At Friday morning’s ceremony, in the bank’s parking lot at First and Abilene, Roosevelt County sheriff Darren Hooker is the featured speaker and a color guard from Cannon Air Force Base will conduct a flag ceremony and play “Taps.”

Local musician Andy Mason will perform two songs while 13-year-old Amy Carter will sing the National Anthem.

“She’s 13, looks like she’s 10, and she’s been doing this ever since the first one,” said Stone of Carter. “Back then she was 6 and looked like she was 3, but she’s always had this big, booming voice.”

Carter’s mother, Christie, works at Portales National Bank. Even though her daughter was very young when the attacks happened, no one in the family will have trouble remembering the events.

“My brother lived in New York City and we were unable to contact him, so it kind of impacted us in that way,” Christie Carter said. “When we found out, we were trying to get through, but he finally contacted us later in the evening.”