Scott Edinger, Jamestown chief of police, described the mood in Jamestown as "somber and a lot of anger" as the events of Sept. 11, 2001, unfolded.
Edinger, a police officer in 2001, had worked a night shift and was asleep when he received a call alerting him right after the first of the World Trade Center towers was struck. The Jamestown Police Department did not activate its officers but its blotter indicates that extra patrols were authorized for the Jamestown Dam area at 10:50 a.m. with the nation at "threat condition 3."
Later that day, the threat condition was raised to "Delta" and extra patrols were authorized for the National Guard armory at the Jamestown Civic Center and the motor pool on U.S. Highway 281 north of Jamestown.
LeRoy Gross, a detective with the Jamestown Police Department, said he remembers vividly where he was and what he was doing at the time.
"I pulled up on the south side of the Police Department and an announcer said an airplane had struck one of the World Trade Center buildings," he said. "I found a TV ... then I remember seeing the other jetliner strike the building."
At the time, Gross said it made him feel small.
"There was no way to help those people," he said.
Edinger said many first responders from all over the country volunteered to help at the sites of the attacks but there was no immediate system to utilize the extra people.
"We knew about all the hazardous materials they would face," he said. "We didn't know what was next. Paranoia always follows things like this."
Jamestown High School
At Jamestown Public High School, word spread early of the attacks, according to Larry Ukestad, principal of the school at the time.
"We called an assembly at Thompson Auditorium," he said. "We told the students what we knew at the time."
The assembled students also watched live news feeds together for a time.
"The choir was practicing a patriotic song at the time," Ukestad said. "We went on with that."
After the assembly, the students returned to their classrooms where teachers had been encouraged to continue playing the news coverage on televisions.
"It was so eerie that day," said Marchel Krieger, a high school teacher. "We watched it the whole day .... when the towers came down, the kids were just in shock."
Krueger said the discussion among the students that day speculated the attack could have come from Russia or Cuba although talk among the students was limited.
"Everybody was quiet," he said. "It was like a library."
Ukestad said the administration of the school decided it was better to keep the students where they were rather than sending them home although parents were allowed to take their students home if they desired.
But the normal curriculum was ignored for the day.
"On that particular day, the learning experience was what was happening on the news," Ukestad said. "As the day went on, they realized the impact this was having."
In the community
Once the terrorist attacks were tied to the Middle East, concerns grew about the supply of gasoline in Jamestown.
"I remember being told to go get gas," Gross said. "One gas station hiked prices and no one followed."
Around town, many businesses closed early and planned activities were canceled.
In the days that followed, another possible terrorist act drew attention. After a number of envelopes laced with anthrax were found in the nation, concerns spread across the country including Jamestown, Edinger said.
Because the anthrax was being found in the U.S. Postal Service system, there was concern that any envelope or package could have been contaminated. With no simple testing available, any suspicious package was destroyed. This included some packages with things like a misplaced spot of glue or unusual mark.
"if someone reported something out of normal, we destroyed it," Edinger said. "It is safe to say dozens of packages were destroyed in the Jamestown community."
Edinger said, for the most part, Jamestown residents took the attacks in stride.
"I don't know if people in Jamestown felt the same level of threat as if they had been in a bigger city," he said.
The people may not have felt the threat, but they did feel the patriotism, Edinger said.
"A lot of people signed up for the military that maybe wouldn't have otherwise," he said, "and the country came together and law enforcement was the good guys. The pendulum has swung the other way on some of that."