2001: one for the history books

Looking back at 2001 only one event seems to come to mind. The attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, the doomed plane that crashed into Western Pennsylvania, the anthrax scare that hit home and the invasion of Afghanistan, for most of us, the biggest combined world event of our lifetime so far.

It seems that so much history has been made over the past few years that an author could easily write a 1,000-page textbook on the past 10 years alone.

The Persian Gulf War, the conflict in the Balkans, the misguided U.S. mission in Somalia (basis for the new movie "Black Hawk Down"), the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole in Yemen, the bombing of two U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, the first attack on the World Trade Center in 1993, the domestic terrorist attack in Oklahoma City, the impeachment of President Clinton and what many thought would be the biggest story of our generation, the contested 2000 presidential election, all pale in comparison to Sept. 11.

Here in the BOW area, various events were held to raise money for the victims of Sept. 11

The towns came together in the days following the attack on America with special gatherings and candlelight vigils. For instance. A major fundraising campaign was undertaken by the Smith Family of Orange, who held a special golf tournament, Tee-d Off Against Terrorism, held at their Racebrook Road club. The event raised $50,000 for the Sept. 11 victims. Amity High School students held various events including a ribbon campaign, raising funds specifically for children of the victims. And emergency personnel from Bethany treked to NYC to assist with grief counseling.

Town officials need to be congratulated again on not panicking in the wake of the attacks and not sending confused and frightened students home early to empty homes.

Town Hall even stayed open later than usual, so that scared residents could call and ask questions of the town's workers.

So much happened in 2001 before Sept. 11. Over the summer, the biggest story of the year so far had been the disappearance of Washington, D.C. intern Chandra Levy and the possible (although not yet proven) involvement of U.S. Rep. Gary Condit in her disappearance.

In January, President George W. Bush was sworn in amidst a sea of controversy over his "victory" in November. Nowadays, that seems to have happened such a long time ago, especially with his soaring approval rating.

The economy has continued to decline, with many layoffs in the dotcom, airline and engineering industries. The stock market has rebounded slightly, and many are predicting that the United States will pull out of the recession by the second quarter of 2002.

And let's not forget about the shooting down of a U.S. spy plane in China earlier this year. It seems 2001 would have been a big year for the history books even before Sept. 11.

Amity has had plenty of history of its own. In Woodbridge, Amey Marrella won her first term as first selectman. In Bethany and Orange Craig Stahl and Mitchell Goldblatt won second terms. However, in Orange, the Republicans won control of several boards and commissions.

And let's not forget Amity Regional High School.

A staggering $2.8 million two-year deficit was revealed. A Budget Referendum was passed to cover the cost and save the students from losing their education.

On a brighter note, the chronic mold problems were finally addressed by new leadership on the board and rectified.

Let's see what history is made in the new year.