9/11/2001 was one of the most tragic days in the history of the United States of America. Our nation was attacked and we lost thousands of lives due to the maniacal agenda of radical Islamists.
I was talking with my niece on the phone and she said," A plane just hit one of the World Trade Towers." We bid a hasty goodbye and I turned on my TV set for what was to be a very long viewing period. I saw the second tower hit and thought to myself that whoever was above the area of attack would not be able to get out. I also realized those working on the floors directly involved were probably killed immediately. The reports of hijacked planes, the reports of the Pentagon being hit and the crash in Pennsylvania just kept coming and the media was doing its collective best to show the American people what was happening, what was known. I saw the people on the street in New York moving away from the towers and the rescue personnel going in to the towers and bringing emergency vehicles and firetrucks to the scenes. Then a tower began to collapse on itself. The people running frantically to get out of the path of a whirlwind of debris filling the streets and following after them like a scene from a science fiction horror film. The second tower soon followed the same downward collapse. Workers and emergency personnel were still in the towers. The horrors kept unfolding for all to see. The horror, the fears, the prayers were all jumbled in my mind. Tears were flowing. I did not want to see this happening and yet I could not stop watching and listening. Terrorists, highjacking planes with full loads of fuel as a means to destroy, were being mentioned. The notification of the President and his attempt to remain calm while waiting for secret service plans for getting him safely out of the school and into the air. Views of the the Pentagon, the field in Pennsylvania and then back to New York. Replays of the towers being struck, views of people leaping to their deaths to avoid being burned alive, and people running to get a way from the devastation. The news that planes were being grounded so that no more could be highjacked led us to believe that no more terror acts of this kind would follow, at least on that day.
News coverage continued throughout the day and night and footage was shown over and over. The American people were informed without a chance to edit or spin the news. We heard from President Bush when he returned to Washington.
Exact details of who, how and why were now being asked and speculated about. We all knew the where and when of the day. I had time to determine that my family member who work in DC were okay as were those family members who lived in Westcgester County in New York were okay. We were able to share our shock, our fears and our gratitude that our family did not suffer the loss that was the horrific outcome of that day. We were able to think about the thousands of families whose loved ones were not returning home that day. We began to see relatives with pictures of loved ones asking anyone and everyone if they had seen the person. We saw the picture posters being mounted around the area. People went to hospitals hoping that their loved one was one of the injured rather than one of the dead.
When rescue forces were able to approach what became known as ground zero, we heard the pathetic beeping of locator devices worn by emergency personnel who were somewhere in all the debris. We saw the beginning of heroic efforts to rescue those who may have somehow survived under the rubble. We saw the smoke rising and the attempts to put out a fire that would continue for days on end,
In a couple of days. carefully edited replays remained in the news. I am sure that some of the editing may have been done to spare survivors from reliving the horror that stole loved ones from them. Somehow, I doubt that many of these grieving people were watching TV. Gradually anything that was broadcast on network and cable TV was sanitized to avoid showing the full horror of the day. Soon even those accounts began to fade from the news. We saw some memorial services and news developing about the radical terrorists. We saw Rudy, we saw Pentagon officials and the day our Presidnt came to ground zero.
Soon, it seemed that it was decided that we Americans had seen enough. Perhaps that was true. we were being encouraged to return to our normal lives and not let fear paralyze us. That too was important lest the terrorists win.
People were supporting President Bush telling rescuers at ground zero that the trrorists would "soon hea from us."
America was united for a short time. President Bush folloewed through on his promise and initially tha was okay,
This did not last too long until we began to hear from critics of war. It was as if 9/11 should now be forgotten. Let us beef up internal security, but let us not get carried awy with going after those who did our nation so much harm.
We now may remember the anniversary, have a few short programs dealing with the memory of that awful day. Then, according to some, we should forget it for another year. Surely it should not be "politicized" so that Americans really remember who we were, how we were changed and how we need to keep those memories alive as we move forward in eliminating as much of these radicals as posssible.