As the world marks the first anniversary of the horrific terrorist attacks on the United States last Sept. 11, most people will remember the utter disbelief they felt while scenes of the destruction and chaos in New York City, Washington, D.C., and a field in Pennsylvania unfolded on their TV screens.
It was surreal then—and remains so today.
But it was all too real, and whether we want to admit it or not, the world did change in the aftermath of those attacks. The only question is whether that change will be for the best—or herald a long period of conflict and bloodshed that may consume us all.
Only history can judge that years from now.
If there can be a plus side to the Sept. 11 attacks, it is the renewed appreciation, particularly in North America, of the freedoms and values we enjoy. And as such, the parallel realization of the price that must be paid to protect them—a price four Canadian families paid with their sons in faraway Afghanistan.
There’s the knowledge now, too, that we are all vulnerable to the actions of terrorists no matter where we may live—and that a revamped vigilance was long overdue to keep us safe.
For many, there’s been a rekindling of spiritually, or at the very least a graphic reminder of how fragile life is—and that no one ever can know just what a new day will bring.
But equally important, Sept. 11 reminded us that even in the face of such catastrophic circumstances, the human spirit still shines through—whether it was firefighters racing up the stairs of the World Trade Center to rescue people, the passengers of United Airlines Flight 93 who battled the hijackers and ultimately sacrificed their own lives to save countless others, or the outpouring of grief, support, and help that centred on “Ground Zero.”
The images of 9/11 are still so vivid in our all minds. But even though the horror eventually will fade in the coming years, let’s never forget the victims, the heroes, and our own resolve to lead better lives.
And that the war on terrorism must never waver—no matter where it is fought and what price must be paid.


In this “Week of Remembrance,” we, as Canadians, are finding ourselves being increasingly offended by our next-door neighbours who seem to have forgotten quite a lot.
While we honour our thousands who fell in two great wars, it seems the Americans—late to enter those wars on our side, remember—are coming after us as if to spoil our economy because somehow we are secretly allied with the Afghanis (Canadians also died in the World Trade Center).
We have put our admittedly slim and growing more meagre resources at U.S. disposal in this terrifying new war. But meanwhile, the U.S. has decided to cut off any money-making Canadians can still manage.
After reaching out for our water and energy supplies, our “friends” have cut off our lumber reaching their markets—Canada’s hitherto most reliable export. Our lumber has built probably millions of American homes. And our other exports have been mutually-beneficial to both countries for generations.
Only Saturday, within days of the announcement that the crushing 19 percent duty was put against Canadian lumber entering the States, and while our pulpwood trucks were still rolling south, I talked to a local fellow who should know all about our woods businesses, having fathered two of our main operators here.
Amodee DeGagne, back from Manitoba with his new wife, was not sounding off on the Canadian lumber sales situation, but he could have been.
Retired now himself, Amodee is father of a leading pulpwood trucker, Leon, and our NorFab industry owner, Mel, and some of their several brothers have been involved with them.
Just looking at this export thing right here, take the DeGagne boys out of action and they would certainly be missed—“big time” as it’s said.
Mel ships his manufactured goods all over the States and employs many young men to build his trusses, sheds, and gazebos. His business may or may not be affected now.
Fort Frances and district neighbours have always lived off of their forests. The Mathieus, Pearsons, and many others in sawmilling have kept us in the affections of the Americans right along with an industrial relationship that rivalled our papermaking through much of the last century.
Why, one of J.A. Mathieu’s two sons, Art, spent his lifetime in Chicago while representing his father’s sawmills here and Shevlin-Clarke, our largest lumber maker, was American-owned. Taken altogether, we couldn’t have lasted this long in this town without our lumber and bush work.
Now, however, with our pulpwood stands thinning out and our biggest sawmills gone, we have only their memories—which kind of go with this unexpected bitterness brought on by a false friendship. The Americans started off by criticizing our border, as if that caused the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11.
More sadness lies in the fact that the Americans we meet and entertain here all summer long are mostly tried and true friends, it goes without saying, and they will be feeling hurt by their government’s hostility towards us.
Repeat an old saying again all this and proves that it’s true: everything comes down to money. But don’t try spending much of that below the border any longer. Without our old industries behind our dollars, you’ll notice they are not worth nearly so much.
One final comment: can Canada go along with our prime minister and his threat to get tough on any water and energy exports? You know, that could make a difference yet!
Meanwhile, remember to remember
• • •
We’ll all miss Jack Tynan, who left the Times staff last week for a fresh career in Missouri. Newly married also, Jack is certainly showing ambition, but we knew all along he had it in him.
• • •
Underground work at McDonald’s restaurant one morning last weekend caused such a stampede by coffee drinkers across the highway into the A&W, you might think another war had started.
Of course, the A&W staff were soon wishing it hadn’t happened, but managed to withstand the unexpected invasion.
Our coffee spots could be counted among our main industries here, and that morning rush—if all concentrated in one or two places—is rather fantastic!
• • •
A suggested industry for springtime is a cannery of some kind for the suckers that teem in ever greater numbers in our creeks. This idea comes from sports fishermen who insist the time is overdue for cutting down on the suckers that are destroying the eggs of walleyes and northerns every year.
Mind you, the game fish seem to be multiplying in spite of the suckers.
• • •
Fishing comes up, of course, whenever our weather turns so beautiful as right now.
But don’t worry about missing out on the traditional November start of winds and storms because they are probably just being a bit late while a belated Indian summer keeps us better company.
• • •
While witnessing the spectacular growth of grandsons and their chums in this generation (and a lot of our teens, both boys and girls, are forcing us to look a way up), some of us are experiencing inferiority complexes.
We also wonder what is causing all this giantism occurring among us? If there are no extremely large relatives in our background and genes are not to be blamed, can you believe these kids are actually eating all that much more food than we did?
And then you meet a crowd of them, all at least as tall as Barry Cox, who was easily the tallest when we went to high school—only the newcomers probably weigh at least 100 pounds more.
What’s happening here?

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