09/11/2001: A Day We Will Never ForgetBy Cheryl Parker
Farmers Day activities began with the 9/11 Never Forget Exhibit Opening Ceremony at 5 pm Thursday night.
The Dubuque Fire Pipes and Drums presented a bagpipe prelude, followed by the posting of the colors by the Buchanan County Firefighter Honor Guard. Todd Rohlfsen sang “The Star Spangled Banner” and Jesup Mayor Chris Even welcomed the audience and special guests to 2021 Farmers Day. The invocation was given by Fr. Jeffrey Dole, St. Athanasius Church, Jesup.
Jesup native Paul Yeager introduced the four visiting New York City firefighters who provided personal stories and acted as guides to the visiting 9/11 Exhibit. He then went on to deliver prepared remarks. He recalled the beautiful weather on September 11, 2001, and how the tragedy instantly united us as Americans, no matter our other differences.
Yeager was getting ready to go to work at KWQC-TV in Davenport that September morning. Stephen Siller was leaving his post after completing his shift as a firefighter in Brooklyn. Yeager asked, “Where were you? What did you do when you heard of the attack?”
He shared some interesting facts: The Manhattan borough is almost 22 square miles, 14,000 acres; you could fit 12 Jesups into an area the size of Manhattan. If you were to lay Tower One on its side, it would stretch from Joe’s Pizza to the Post Office.
“Never Forget” was said early and often about that day. Yeager said, “It is exhibits like these that help make sure we do remember those who died, sacrificed, and lived to tell the story of 9/11.”
About the Guest Speaker
Paul Yeager grew up on a farm south of Jesup, and is a graduate of Jesup High School. He enjoyed farming, but knew he did not have the engineering mind of his father (the late Kent Yeager) required to be a good farmer. He did, however, have his father’s love of talking with people. While still in high school, Yeager did some writing, photography, darkroom work and more at the Jesup Citizen Herald.
He grew up listening to Grant Price on the local news, and when Price became a professor at Wartburg College, he knew that was where he wanted to go. Following graduation, Yeager began his broadcast career at KIMT-TV in Mason City reporting news, weather, and sports, eventually anchoring the weekend news. In 2000 Yeager joined KWQC in Davenport as weekend anchor, and it was there where he covered the terrorist attack and aftermath of 9/11. He recalls the tension in the newsroom when they realized the targets were moving west (New York City, Washington, D.C., Pennsylvania.) Would the Rock Island Arsenal be a target? In 2006 he moved to the Des Moines area to run the assignment desk at WHO-TV.
He joined the staff of Iowa Public Television (Now Iowa PBS) in 2007 where he eventually hosted the Iowa Journal. Three years later, Yeager became a reporter for Market to Market. Yeager also serves as the host of Iowa PBS Sports. He noted that his job, like others in journalism, adapted to COVID restrictions by doing interviews remotely utilizing Zoom and similar technologies. Today he says things are returning to normal with most of the analysts back in the office, but there are still some reluctant to fly.
Yeager likes to return to Jesup whenever he can, visiting his mother Joellen Yeager who still lives on the family farm, and helping out with Jesup events. He has been a past Master of Ceremonies for the Farmers Day Prince and Princess contest, he spoke at a past Lions Club Farmers’ Night, and was asked to speak at the 2020 Lions Club Honors Banquet before it was canceled due to COVID.
Paul Yeager and his family currently make their home in Ankeny.
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