COLUMN: ‘Stop the press’

Staff Writer
Echo Pilot

Recollections of 9/11 from Echo Pilot general manager Kristy Yaukey

Ten years ago last Sunday on 9/11/01 I heard those three words “stop the press”.

Here's my story:

I was in Pottsville, Pa. taking a tour at my new place of employment. I had decided to expand my yellow page career and excepted a job position as Director of Sales at The Easy Pages Phone Directory. Just so happened that my new company was owned by the Republican Herald, the local daily newspaper.

Never being exposed to any type of printing operation before, I was watching the morning edition of the Republican Herald being printed. It was almost a little scary. I still remember the distinct smell and the loud noise as the news that happened in the last 24 hours that was about to hit the street.

I was in a group of about 20 people on a tour of the facility and one of the pressmen was explaining the process of how this transformation would take place. I found it very interesting how the stories and pictures would all come together and become a newspaper. I saw a small older man pushing his way through our group and thinking how rude. In a calm, but frightened voice I will never forget the three words he spoke. “Stop the presses.”

Ten years later I still can't describe what an eerie feeling it gave me when within a few seconds everything stopped and it was totally quiet. I had never really thought of what it would take to actually stop a newspaper from printing, but I knew it must be something really big.

Looking back, none of us walking through that pressroom could have ever imagined what was about to unfold and how it would change all our lives forever. We walked by the now silent press and into a small room where all eyes were glued to a tiny 10-inch television screen. I remember looking up at a clock on the wall and the time was 9:01. As I turned my eyes to the television to see what everyone was watching I saw what appeared to be an accident. A plane had crashed into a building. Two minutes later at 9:03 before any of us knew what was happening, we watched as yet another plane was headed for another building. At this point everyone in the room did not need to hear the commentary to know that America was under attack.

We were dismissed from the tour and all I wanted to do was start driving to my home in Blakeslee, Pa. and get in touch with my family. They lived in Fulton County which was four hours away. As I continued driving I paid close attention to the radio and kept trying to contact my husband. All circuits were busy so I kept driving, listening and dialing. At 9:37 it's reported that the Pentagon has been attacked. I really don't remember much about my drive after that, but I know I felt a panic that I had never felt before. I'm 25 minutes away from my home and at 10:03 another report of a plane crash in Shanksville, Pa. I prayed for people who would not survive and those injured. I prayed for my own family's safety and for our country's freedom. When was this going to end?

The remainder of that day and for many days to follow we all were glued to our televisions and our many other news sources. As we watch the events of that day unfold over and over, day after day we realize that it will never end. We will grieve, pray, hope, heal and remember. That September day will be forever imbedded in our hearts and minds. Ten years later from that horrible day, I am now directly involved in the newspaper business. I’m the general manager of the Echo Pilot and my hope is that I will never witness a tragedy such as 9/11 when I have to say those three words “stop the press.”