9/12/01: Residents keep close watch over day's events
This story originally appeared on Sept. 12, 2001.
DANVILLE — Danville officials and residents kept their eyes on television newscasts and stayed close to the phone Tuesday after commercial jetliners were used as weapons in New York and Washington's terrorist attacks.
Lisa Andrews of Danville said she was at work in Rantoul when she learned of the tragedy.
"I was scared," she said. "I just wanted to go home and be with my family."
Answering the questions of her 4-year-old daughter has been difficult, Andrews said.
"She knows something is going on," she said. "She just doesn't understand why people have to be mean."
"It makes you feel confused," said Evelyn Buford, of Danville.
As Buford watched the coverage on television, she was overcome with emotion.
"I weeped and cried," she said. "America is such a giant and so proud that it seemed like eventually someone would try to crush that giant."
Airplanes were grounded and local meetings were canceled in reaction to the news, but the federal bankruptcy court continued to conduct its business, albeit warily.
The Vermilion County Airport was shut down a little after 9 a.m. on orders from the Federal Aviation Administration.
Airport Manager Bob Gagnon received the call from the Champaign office. Planes arrived at the airport on Tuesday morning before the attacks, but Gagnon said no diverted flights arrived the announcement.
He was alerted that no flights were to depart from or land at the airport until Wednesday at noon.
At the Bankruptcy Court in Danville, clerk Debbie Townsley said they had not heard anything from the U.S. Marshal's Service in Urbana, where they would get their direct orders by phone, to deviate from their regular schedule. The court is one of the only federal buildings in the Danville area.
For most of the day, the Danville fire and police departments were on the alert for any phone calls on the developing situation. They were not contacted, but Danville and other police departments spent mid-afternoon directing traffic after cars lined up at gas stations.
As a precaution, Mayor Bob Jones decided to cancel the city council meeting Tuesday night, and county board Chairman Todd Lee rescheduled his board's Tuesday meeting for next week.