Nathan Walsh’s children are starting to ask him questions now about 9/11.
Ages 10, 8 and 5, they want to know if their dad was scared that day.
Walsh was 22 years old and inside the World Trade Center when it was struck by two Boeing 707 airliners 20 years ago. The 1997 Bath High School graduate was part of a group attending a job training session on the 61st floor of the south tower when the first airliner crashed into the neighboring north tower at 8:45. a.m. Twenty minutes later, as the group was being evacuated down an emergency stairwell, they made it to the 50th floor of the south tower when it too was hit. The stairwell would eventually fill with smoke and a huge crack shot down the cinder block of the eighth floor before Walsh and others escaped.
He tries to be open with children when explaining the events of that day.
“It’s one of those things where I think it’s important for all of us to remind each other that this was a very real thing that happened. … not a TV show. A lot of people’s lives ended or were changed forever that day. We need to talk about it and remind each other of what happened. … how important the important things are in our life, and how unimportant other things are. Some days I am good at doing that, and some days I’m bad at it.”
He knows what he experienced that day will always be etched in his mind.
“It’s something that I think about pretty constantly, just because of the weight and gravity of what happened and what I saw and experienced,” Walsh said. “Everyone who lived during 9/11 knew it was going to, in some way or another, change the world forever. Moving forward, I don’t think any of us had any idea of what that would look like, especially with what’s going on with Afghanistan. That’s kind of a bookend to 9/11 … 20 years have flown by and at the same time it’s been a long 20 years.”
Walsh said he grew up in a family where his parents, Steve and Deb Walsh, would talk about current events. But he admits, “like most 21- or 22-year-olds, you’re kind of stuck in your own world. This was our wake-up call, that the world is a pretty big, scary place. We have to stay awake and pay attention.”
He now lives in Columbus with his wife, Teresa. While he talks openly about 9/11 when asked, he hasn’t watched any of the 9/11 documentaries on television.
“You know there’s a lot of people that woke up and got dressed and went to the office that day. Others boarded a plane looking forward to where they were going. There were people who worked in fire stations or police stations who essentially just disappeared.
“That could happen to any of us.
“That’s what I remember about 9/11.”
ROSES AND THORNS: A former wrestling star gets a hero’s welcome in the rose garden.
Rose: Former Lima resident Al Sarven saved a child’s life Thursday by jumping in the ocean and pulling the boy from a riptide, according to TMZ entertainment news. The 58-year-old Sarven gained fame in the 1990s as Al Snow, a WWE wrestler who carried and talked to a mannequin named “Head” during his matches. He was swimming at Santa Rosa Beach in Destin, Florida, when the incident occurred. He said the situation almost turned dire after he snagged the child because a wave took them under, but he was able to fight it off and hand the child to a lifeguard.
Rose: To Brandon Fischer, who was named Allen County’s new health commissioner. He’s only the third person in 5o years to hold the position.
Rose: To Gary Turnwald, of Ottoville. When he purchased a 1929 Ford Model A that had been in his family since 1965, it was, in his words, “a bucket of rust.” You would never know that to look at the car today as it has been completely restored.
Rose: To Mary Birkemeier, of Ottawa, who won Best of Show honors in The Lima News 25th Annual Amateur Photo Contest.
Rose: To Patricia and Edwin Booth, of Lima, who celebrated 65 years of marriage on Wednesday, and to Dorothy and Paul Metzger of Delphos, who celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary on Thursday.
Rose: This year’s Allen County Fair generated the second-highest gate receipts in its history.
Thorn: School districts in the Lima region have needed to make last-minute changes to their lunch menus due to shortages of things like ketchup packets, french fries, peanut butter and purchases of chicken and pizza products.
PARTING SHOT: Integrity means doing the right thing when no one is looking.
Jim Krumel is the editor of The Lima News. Contact him at 567-242-0391 or at The Lima News, 3515 Elida Road, Lima, Ohio 45807.