9/11 -- St. Petersburg Times Special Report

Sunday, Sept. 1
  • Florida: Terror's launching pad
  • The 19 plotters and their day of terror
  • Remembering

    Monday, Sept. 2
  • When tragedy meets capitalism
  • '9/11 fatigue' is natural, mental health experts say

    Tuesday, Sept. 3
  • Coping as a kid
  • Eric Deggans: 9/11 documentary asks troubling questions about religion
  • Sept. 11 photograph exhibit opens

    Wednesday, Sept. 4
  • Millions in new funding don't guarantee security
  • Donations to local charities slow in months after attacks
  • Sept. 11 donations swamp charities
  • Bush to visit three attack sites on 9/11

    Thursday, Sept. 5
  • Attack anniversary is living history lesson
  • Trading fallback system improved
  • Future of site still beset by debate

    Friday, Sept. 6
  • Senate approves plan to allow armed pilots
  • Dream job becoming demoralizing
  • New plane doors would withstand gunfire
  • What ever happened to ... Those patriotic paint jobs?
  • The other 911
  • Consolidated for the cause

    Saturday, Sept. 7
  • In chaos, TIA tower controlled 9/11 skies
  • Congress, N.Y. reaffirm solidarity
  • Traveling can be nicer in rougher countries
  • For TIA workers, 'normal' not what it used to be
  • Airlines don't see relief over horizon
  • Terror only one blow to tourism
  • A year later, it's the home fires that burn brightly
  • Flying the flag

    Sunday, Sept. 8
  • 125 Cedar Street
  • The drama in Sarasota
  • Cautious, yes, but still traveling
  • As security increases, fervor fades
  • Rising risks
  • Finding lessons in rubble of tragedy
  • Public loss, private grief
  • Duty calls; he goes; they wait
  • Riled residents show true colors
  • Keeping her distance
  • Which way leads up?
  • For the record
  • 45 Questions
  • A lexicon of terror, post-9/11
  • Before attacks, this was the news
  • Other events on Sept. 11
  • Voice mail delivers, retains final words
  • Keeping us rolling
  • 9.11
  • How we'll view it

    Monday, Sept. 9
  • The residue of terror
  • Patriotism is more than emotion
  • What ever happened to . . .: Our religious fervor?
  • The nightmares return
  • Life has the right-of-way
  • Free to disagree
  • 'Time has not healed the pain'
  • Deputies to step up patrol for anniversary
  • Security upgrade since 9/11 slow, steady
  • Enthusiasm for PHCC's security classes dissipates
  • Teachers untangle Sept. 11 lessons
  • A bumpy year for business
  • The man who would have led Afghanistan
  • People who made the headlines

    Tuesday, Sept. 10
  • Multitude to gather to wave U.S. flags
  • Pictures evoke profound feelings
  • Attacks haven't boosted sales of cell phones
  • Schools discover ways to reflect on attacks
  • Flags still wave, but sales fall from peak
  • Three fathers lost
  • Telemarketers easing up on 9/11
  • Nuclear plant adds security layers to prevent terrorism
  • Cough, stress hinder emergency workers
  • Families of missing sit in limbo
  • Places of importance after the attacks

    Wednesday, Sept. 11
  • Remembrance and renewal
  • Flags Along the Bayshore: Tampa Remembers 9/11
  • Ways of remembering
  • A piece of paper . a blue and white truck
  • Is America ready for another attack?
  • Nation to honor victims in silence
  • Poll: Compassion remains
  • The war so far
  • Terror update
  • Attack on Iraq would test headquarters at MacDill
  • 09-11-01 Perspectives
  • Those who died in the attacks
  • Myriad rescue agencies trust their link won't fail
  • Photo gallery
  • (This Flash gallery requires the free Flash Player 5+.)

    Thursday, Sept. 12
  • Emotional service honors those who died selflessly
  • Elements of pride
  • Echo of 9/11 empties airport
  • A day full of tributes, flags and questions
  • Prayer, fellowship pull many through agonizing anniversary
  • Tributes great and small
  • Children in a changed world pause to reflect
  • Citrus recalls 9/11 with its heart
  • Marking the imponderable
  • Ministers assure that God was there that sorrowful day
  • Chime recalls a nation's losses
  • For law officers, day passes quietly
  • Residents gather to heal, remember
  • In big and small ways, our community pays tribute
  • Cities somberly mark Sept. 11
  • Patriotic display greets drivers
  • Day of grief, resolve
  • At county schools, remembrance resounds
  • Travel lags on attacks' anniversary
  • They were us
  • Americans worldwide cautious on anniversary
  • Radical Muslims discuss 'positive outcomes' of Sept. 11
  • Amid grief, Bush gives warning

  • printer version

    Duty calls; he goes; they wait

    It wasn't easy leaving behind his family and a brand new daughter, but Steven Meredith is a patriot - and proud of it.

    By CARY DAVIS, Times Staff Writer
    © St. Petersburg Times
    published September 8, 2002


    HUDSON -- Steven Meredith made some huge sacrifices when he answered the call to duty.

    Meredith was in the delivery room, awaiting the birth of his third daughter, when he got the call to report. A long-haul trucker by trade, Meredith also was a private first class in the Army National Guard.

    Three weeks had passed since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 and he was being called to active duty.

    Under the circumstances, Meredith could have said no.

    He said yes, but with tears running down his face. His country needed him, and Meredith, above all, is a patriot.

    But patriotism came at a price for Meredith, 25, and his family. He reported for duty right after Tyra Ann's birth and barely saw his new daughter for six months. His wife, Kathleen, was left to raise little Tyra alone. It wasn't easy, not when she also had to care for the couple's other three children.

    What's more, National Guard duty doesn't pay very well. Meredith figures his six months on active duty cost his family more than $7,000 -- the difference between military pay and what he would have made as a trucker.

    But Steven Meredith has no regrets.

    "If I had it to do over, I'd do the same thing," he said. "I signed a contract to serve my country, and I take that very seriously. If my country needs me, I'm going to answer the call."

    Meredith's National Guard unit provided extra security at Tampa International Airport. Many of his fellow soldiers returned to their families between shifts. But the Meredith family only had only one car, and Kathleen needed it for the kids.

    So for six months, Meredith lived in a hotel near the airport.

    About once a week, he caught a ride home to Hudson. Leaving his family was always hard. Missing Tyra's first months was nearly unbearable.

    "She was so attached to her mother," he said.

    Not having Dad around was "devastating" for the family, Kathleen Meredith said.

    "I would have loved for him to be here," she said. "But I support him, whatever he has to do. He's a great dad. I knew he was with me in spirit."

    Meredith's six-month tour ended March 21. He got a new job, installing underground utility lines for an Odessa company, and bought a second car for the family.

    Tyra is 11 months old now. She has blond hair and blue eyes.

    "And she's starting to come around to me," Meredith said. "She wants to be with Daddy more."

    Serving his country is in Meredith's blood. His father served in the Air Force in Vietnam. His grandfather, he said, was an Army soldier in the South Pacific during World War II.

    Meredith now spends one weekend a month with his National Guard unit, which is based in Dade City. They've been training for combat, he said.

    If the United States declares war on Iraq, he said, "There's a good possibility we could get called back to active duty."

    You guessed it: Meredith wouldn't hesitate.

    "I wouldn't blink an eye," he said. "My family's great. They understand.

    "I love my family, but I love my country, too."

    -- Cary Davis covers courts in west Pasco County. He can be reached in west Pasco at 869-6236, or toll-free at 1-800-333-7505, ext. 6236. His e-mail address is cbdavis@sptimes.com.


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