Monday, September 12, 2016

September 11 - 15 Years Later We Will Never Forget

We have just had the 15th anniversary of the September 11 attacks on American and the world. I mention the world because people from many nations died on this day.  It was just surreal that 15 years have passed. It seems like yesterday that we turned on the television to see images of the Twin Towers on fire and smoking. In New York City, many of the networks were down due to the antennae at one of the towers beings taken out by the plane crash. To my knowledge, only CBS on channel 2 in New York was on air. Other networks asked for permission to broadcast on other channels normally reserved for other networks.

I remember the day as if it were yesterday.  The sights and smells, the sounds and feels are all vivid. I was a kid and remember the day was slightly cool and sunny.  There was no cloud in sight, none. New Yorkers were on their way to work, some already there. It felt like a normal day in the city. Then a plane crashes into one of the towers. At first, many thought it was a plane crash.  However, the weather was just too good for a plane to crash.  Technical problems were also ruled out by common sense since a pilot would not speed up a plane whose engines have failed. Like captain Sullenberger of US Airways Flight 1549, a pilot would steer clear of skyscrapers and look for a place to possibly land a failing plane. On September 11, this was clearly not the case.  The trajectory and speed of the plane clearly demonstrated intention to crash the plane. September 11 will always be a date engraved in the minds and hearts of all who witnessed it, whether in person or on television.

At the time, there was no such thing as Facebook or Twitter. You Tube did not exist.  Cell phones were around but were very limited. In fact, the networks were so congested on that day that phones were not working or were receiving calls from elsewhere.  Cell numbers were even mixed around. One's number would show up as a different number on caller ID due to the confusion in the network. The events were indeed horrific.  Planes were hijacked, people killed on them and with them. Those same planes were used as missiles of sorts by terrorists who crashed them into the World Trade Center's "Twin Towers" and the Pentagon.  Another plane crashed into a field in Pennsylvania after the brave passengers thwarted the terrorist's plans to use the plane as another weapon - possibly aiming for the Capitol building or White House - by saying "Let's roll" and ambushing the terrorists. Today we are facing terrorist attacks, now with planes, but with disturbed individuals who inspired by ISIS/ISIL and taking it upon itself to attack selected targets. This year, we have seen many attacks in Paris and in our own nation. Workers at a party were killed in a party at San Bernadino and a gay club in Orlando was ambushed by a lone wolf. Terrorism seems unstoppable. Where will be the next target is on the minds of many Americans. It is a scary time to live indeed.  However, we must try our best to live normal lives.

Law enforcement must be creative in their efforts to prevent terrorism. As is stands, the internet seems to be what is fueling these extremists.  Social networks are often beacons of free speech. Extremists are taking advantage of this and using these outlets to promote their propaganda. In my opinion, more has to be done by social media in order to thwart these disturbed individuals.  It seems that social media networks have their priorities mixed up. In 2013, my Twitter was permanently suspended after atheist trolls mass reported it.  Twitter did not want to budge and left my account suspended despite proof that I did nothing.  Last year, my Facebook was locked out because I used "Sacerdotus" as a name. Now just last month, Google + suspended my profile for the same reason. Yet, accounts run by terrorists remain untouched and free to tweet and post. What is wrong?  What is going on? I ask myself this many times, and I am not the only one. If social media monitors terrorist accounts and is quick to remove them, I believe this will be very effective in thwarting any future attacks. September 11 should remind us that we cannot remain dormant. We must also not forget our Judeo-Christian roots as Americans.

On September 14, 2001, President Bush declared the day the National Day of Prayer & Remembrance. Ironically, on this date, the Catholic Church celebrates the Triumph of the Holy Cross  It is also ironic that among the piles of dust, twisted steel beams and other debris, all that remained were two beams in the form of a cross.  Was God telling us something?  We cannot know for sure, but coincidences do not exist.  Anything that happens in life has some reason or cause.  To me, it is Divine Providence at work reminding us that we have strayed. American keeps straying away from her God in whom she claims to trust in her motto. We Christians are also at fault. Instead of evangelizing, we have taken upon what I call "comfortable Christianity." We have sat back in our pews believing that Christianity's roots were unmovable, so to speak. This stagnant attitude has led to the legalization of abortion, so-called same-sex marriage, laws restricting religious freedom and now the pushing of gender theory to the point that the once settled matter of who uses what bathroom is now in a state of confusion. Christians need to wake up and restore America.

Presidential candidate Donald Trump claims to want to "Make American Great Again," however, this can only be done if we put substance behind the motto "In God we Trust."  As 2 Chronicles 7:14 says: "...if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land."  Let us pray for the brave souls of September 11, 2001 and continue our promise: We Will Never Forget!

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