9/11 photos show kindness, patriotism in terrifying time

By Andrew West
Posted 9/12/21

DOVER — Some notes and quotes between headlines and deadlines …


Today’s newspaper includes a special section, “9/11: 20 Years Later.”

The images help us …

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9/11 photos show kindness, patriotism in terrifying time


DOVER — Some notes and quotes between headlines and deadlines …


Today’s newspaper includes a special section, “9/11: 20 Years Later.”

The images help us remember the acts of terrorism and the response from Delawareans.

The local photos especially bring us back to the outpouring of support and patriotism.

We hope you take time to read the many stories that appear today, and that were printed in the Friday and Saturday editions, about the 20th anniversary.

All of them can be read at BaytoBayNews.com.

It is also worth a visit to our website to read “From 2001: First draft of history.” Web editor Brooke Schultz has put together a package of stories from our Sept. 12, 2001, edition.


There are many details from the 2001 coverage that you may or may not readily recall.
Of the reactions, one will always stand out to this editor. We turned to Wright Robinson, who had decades of newspaper experience as owner and editor of The Leader in Seaford, for his perspective.

At age 93, he had a sharp memory of big news events. It reminded him immediately of the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, but there was a big difference. He said live television coverage on 9/11 “electrified the world.”

“With World War II, you could only imagine the horror,” he said.


For the past 20 years, this editor has been involved with Communications Day for Leadership Central Delaware. Among the exercises is a slide show and discussion, “You Be The Editor.”

The task for the students in the class is to view photographs and decide whether they should be published.

Scenes from 9/11 have been among the most discussed.

The photos from the World Trade Center were horrific, and newspaper editors around the nation were challenged about what to use and where to draw the line.

In recent years, the photos seem to have taken on a historical context and do not elicit the same emotions they did in the mid-2000s.

However, in the first few years of discussing this with the leadership class, there were some that solicited an immediate “no.”

Others inspired conversation.

One photo, taken by an Associated Press photographer, showed a woman with blood on her face, arms and legs. She was sitting on a curb getting help from two emergency responders.

For some, it was too personal — the woman was easily identifiable, and the blood was just too much.

Those who thought it should have been shown agreed that it had a powerful testimony: people helping people in a time of tragedy.


Comments from Kelly Graf on the University of Delaware’s UDaily website reminded me of the leadership class members’ reactions.

Ms. Graf, now senior director of communications and marketing in UD’s Office of Development and Alumni Relations, was working at a building across from the World Trade Center on 9/11.

She was asked how that day has changed Americans.

“While I witnessed the worst of humanity that day, I also saw the best,” she said.

“Everyone was in it together on those streets as we tried to find safety. Total strangers took care of me, took care of each other, and showed true kindness. I hope we can all experience that spirit again without the terror.”

In the account, Ms. Graf said she felt her office building shake when the first plane hit.
“Looking out the window, I saw flames raging and debris flying everywhere. I saw hundreds of people — little ants on the ground — running for their lives. I could see their fear, even from 22 stories above.”


On Tuesday, the Delaware State News celebrates its 68th anniversary as the first and only daily newspaper in the capital of the First State.

Andrew West is executive editor of the Delaware State News.