Laural Porter - Remembering 9/11

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by Teresa Blackman

Bio | Email | Follow: @KGWNews

kgw.com

Posted on September 7, 2011 at 3:00 PM

Updated Wednesday, Sep 7 at 3:05 PM

9/11. It was a day that changed the world forever, and for one day in Portland; it blended the color pink with the colors red, white and blue.

I was in the final days of preparing the KGW team roster for the 2001 Komen Race For The Cure.

It was my first year as an honorary co-chair of the race, and I wanted to be sure everything was in order.

The t-shirts had arrived, bib numbers, safety pins, and collectors pins. I had big pink ribbon posters taped to the front of my desk in the newsroom.

I planned to hand out the T-shirts to my teammates the next day. My script was just about ready for race day. Then the script changed--

The box of Komen shirts was on my kitchen counter to remind me to take them with me to work.

5:45 am. I would have been asleep. I worked the night shift and usually got up in time to get the kids off to school, then took a quick nap. However, On September 11, 2001, it was a rare Tuesday morning when I was up early.

On this day, I was to meet our Special Projects Manager, Ray Fanning, early in the morning, to go to the coast to shoot a "Going Green" environmental special.

As I was getting ready, my husband called to me;"Oh my God, you have to come see this". I ran downstairs. We both stared in shocked disbelief at the TV.

It was a feeling shared by an entire nation. The first plane had hit the first tower. Was it an accident? What was happening? Then 18 minutes later, the second plane hit the second tower. Immediately, we knew. Terrorism.

I called work. Our News Director, Rod Gramer, said what I already knew. There would be no environmental show shoot at the coast that day.

Rod wanted everyone together at the station.

When I arrived at the station, Tracy Barry was on the air telling our viewers what had happened.

During the day, our news crews covered every local angle related to how the attacks affected us.

That week seems a blur now.

For weeks, I had been focusing on pink ribbons. Now, however, I was wearing a red, white, and blue ribbon on the air to show solidarity with the victims, victims' families, and first responders. I wore that ribbon for the entire week.

I didn't know if I would also get to wear the pink ribbon on Sunday, September 16th, Susan G. Komen Race Day in Portland. The local organizers considered canceling the race, because of the tragic events of 9/11. There was so much grief in the nation. Was it proper to hold the race?

After much discussion, they decided to go forward with the race. I am glad they did. It was one of the most powerful events I've ever been a part of.

Sunday. It was five days after 9/11. Would anyone show up for the race?

They sure did. And they came by the tens of thousands to Portland’s waterfront. Nearly 50,000 people;adorned in both pink AND red, white and blue. They wore pink boas, pink wigs, and pink shirts. But they also painted their faces red, white, and blue; wore patriotic pins, and carried American flags. Racers dressed as Uncle Sam and Betsy Ross showed up.

People have described the emotions following 9/11 as a time when the "nation held hands".

At the 2001 Komen Race For the Cure, we held hands for breast cancer awareness. We held hands to find a cure. We held hands for those we've lost to the disease and for our friends who are survivors. We held hands for those we lost on 9-11. We held hands for all the survivors. We held hands as Oregonians. We held hands as Americans.

Pink and red, white, and blue never looked so beautiful together.

My script had changed... there was no need for words.

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