Former Sheriff John Darr reflects on September 2001 trip to Ground Zero

National / World

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – Saturday marks the 20th Anniversary of the largest terror attack on U.S. soil. Nearly 3,000 people perished when planes, flown by terrorists, struck the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon, and crashed in a field in Pennsylvania. The tragedy touched lives right here at home.

On the morning of Sept. 11th, 2001, John Darr, then a deputy sheriff in Muscogee County, was headed to the Atlanta area with a partner to pick up a fugitive. They couldn’t believe what they were hearing on the radio.  They needed some kind of clarification.

“And we actually happened to stop off up in Newnan, and kind of walked into a Sears that was there, and kind of started seeing some of the scenes on the television,” said Lt. Colonel John Darr, Muscogee County Sheriff’s Department.

The next day Darr and three others were driving to New York. What they found when they got there was dust and lots of it. It was on the ground and in the air as they made their way to Ground Zero.

“Just a few blocks, we finally came around one of those buildings, and we saw one of the first buildings, and you’re basically talking about, it seemed like 10, eleven stories of rubble. And I’m going to tell you something, it, I don’t want to say it shocks you but it kind of brings it into focus and reality,” said Darr.

Our News Three cameras were there in New York City with Darr and his crew back in 2001. Darr and his team stayed for a few days, until they locked down the site except to those specialized in mass rescue operations. Darr says 911 not only changed the way this country views security, but it also brought out a feeling of unity.

“The patriotic feeling everybody had at that time, which everybody was USA, and just the feeling of being prideful of that,” said Darr.

Darr says he plans to spend Saturday the way he does every September 11th Anniversary, watching the specials on television. 

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