As I sat down to write today’s post, I thought about all the topics I could cover—jobs, the economy, manufacturing, world events, Miley Cyrus’s record-breaking video (apparently that’s big news today)—the list is endless. However, none of these outweighs the events that transpired on this day in 2001.
Almost everyone remembers where they were and what they were doing when they first heard the news that the North Tower of the World Trade Center (1 WTC) had been hit by an airplane. One such event could be thought to be an accident. Accidents happen. When the second tower was hit, there was no mistaking either as an accident. Our worst fears were realized as we watched the drama unfolding, heard about the Pennsylvania plane crash and the attack on
the Pentagon, and then learned that these were indeed attacks on Americans with intent to kill innocent men, women, and children.
When this horrific event first began, I was doing what I am at this moment—working from my home office writing and editing. It just so happened that my youngest son had stayed home from school on that day. He came running out of his room and into my office to tell me about the first plane striking. At the same time, phone calls and e-mails from co-workers, friends, and family were coming in: “Have you seen the news? Turn on your television.” This is how things were done in the days before Facebook and Twitter.
At that time, my daughter worked for a publisher in New Jersey, just across the line from New York City. Her workday began at an hour that put her on the road when the attack was taking place. Had she been looking in the direction of the NYC skyline, she likely could have seen the crash. As it was, she could see the smoke, something she would watch for hours to come from her apartment.
I was concerned for my daughter’s safety … concerned that the attacks would continue long after the towers collapsed. I wanted her nowhere near there. She stayed, and her biggest personal health and safety concern became the air pollution from the smoldering fires.
My next thought was to call my mother. How many of you did that or wanted to? I actually reached for the phone and began to dial her number before remembering that she had passed away a few months earlier. My next thought was, “Thank God that she didn’t see this happen.” She saw plenty during her lifetime, including Pearl Harbor and the assassinations of JFK, RFK, and MLK. All were horrible, horrible events, but Pearl Harbor was an event perpetrated by a global aggressor during wartime, and the assassinations targeted single individuals for reasons known only to their killers and those, if any, who conspired with them. That doesn’t make them any less tragic. It just makes them different from 9-11 in which we were attacked totally out of the blue.
We learned a lot from what happened, and much has transpired throughout the past 12 years as a result of those lessons. Domestic security measures have been ramped up, and we now know that Big Brother is alive, well, and eavesdropping on many unsuspecting citizens—relatively minor inconveniences for those of us who have no ill intentions towards our country.
We also learned how our very ethnically and politically diverse society can come together as one when our country is in peril—how very unselfish and caring we can be when our fellow countrymen are suffering. It’s sad that our leaders in Washington seem to have forgotten that lesson.
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