Wednesday, September 11, 2019

September 11, 18 Years Later

Time flies... it has been 18 years since the horrific attack against the United States of America on September 11, 2001. On this day, cowardly hijackers took over commercial airliners and crashed them into the World Trade Center "Twin Towers," the Pentagon and in a field in Pennsylvania. The latter was due to brave passengers on flight 93 who fought back against the hijackers.


Many remember the day well. It was a clear sunny day. The weather was spring-like. When news of a plane crashed into the first tower, everyone was wondering how this could have happened. They never expected terrorism. Americans were off to start a new decade after enjoying a wondering economy in the '90s. No one really thought about terrorism. It was just about enjoying life, going to school and work and nothing else. There were no social media at the time other than AOL chat rooms, AOL instant messenger, ICQ, and online forums. Teens would go on Teen Chat Center or NewGrounds for their entertainment. There were no mp3 players, only CD and cassette walkmans. Cell phones were limited to bulky carry items that only made costly phone calls. Texting and the internet on phones were not even conceived yet. Apple INC was coming back from nearly being wiped out by Microsoft. Steve Jobs introduced his colorful IMac computers at the time. Playstation 2 was taking the market from Nintendo. Sega and other consoles disappeared from popularity. There as no wifi, no hotspots, no e-readers etc. It was a different time, and in a sense, a different world.

September 11th changed all of this. The site of the Twin Towers ablaze and eventually collapsing, the hit on the Pentagon and the inability of the president to govern would send a strong message to all: America was not ready. If with the cost of a mere plane ticket a person bent on doing evil can paralyze the world's most powerful and richest, then that speaks volumes. America experienced a new type of warfare. This was not like the Japanese attacking Pearl Harbor or anything else. The attack was within and without notice. Government agencies that deal with intelligence failed. All they knew was that operative for Al-Qaida were boarding flights. But, which ones and when? No one knew the answers. As Air Force One sat on a runway in Florida, reports came in that a plane was coming towards it that had its transponders off. Once cleared, Air Force One took off with speeds not typical of a plane its size. Meanwhile, in New York, there was chaos. Manhattan was shut down. People wandered the streets not knowing what was going on other than two planes hit the towers. At the towers, people jumped out windows preferring death on pavement than evaporating in the hot temperatures from the flames. Those present will never forget the sounds of their bodies hitting the pavement. A loud bang followed by a crunching sound. It was just horrendous. Soon thereafter, the towers collapsed, one after another after the passing of some time.





The events of September 11th remind us how fragile a country and government can be. We take for granted the systems man puts into place and believe them to be impenetrable. However, nothing is secure in life. Nothing is foolproof. The effects of September 11th are still be felt today. We now have heavy security at airports and other places of travel. Our current president is trying hard to secure borders so that people like those who hijacked the planes on September 11th cannot enter easily. But more remains to be done.

Communications systems fell apart that day. Phone lines were either busy or mixed with other lines. One would get calls from other states and when one called another, a different phone number would appear on caller ID. Walkie Talkies used by firefighters and police officers were scrambled. They could not communicate with each other. There was chaos everywhere, not just in New York City. The president himself was lost on Airforce One. Communications onboard were not working as expected. His plane was flying around the United States with no sense of direction. This attack hit everyone, top to bottom.

We must not forget the memories of those who perished on this day and the days and years after. People are still dying from the effects of the ashes and other substances in the air. The remains of many of the fallen are still being identified even after so long. Today, firefighter Michael Haub was laid to rest after his remains were identified. To date, only 60% of the 2, 753 victims were identified.

Despite the evil and chaos of that day, we can focus on the good people and good things that came about. First, we remember Father Mychael Judge, OFM of the Franciscan Holy Name province. He was a homosexual priest who ministered to all peoples. As chaplain to the FDNY, he was first at the scene with firefighters at the World Trade Center. As he prayed for those hurt and deceased, some debris hit him killing him instantly despite having a hardhat on. Let us not forget Todd Beamer who was on flight 93 and famously said, "Let's roll" as he and others went after the hijackers. Let us not forget Moira Smith, the only NYPD female officer to perish on the date. Then we have Manal Ezzat, a Muslim woman who took to task to build a chapel at the site where the plane hit the Pentagon. This chapel is used by people of different faiths. St. John Paul II was the pope at the time. He was watching the events on the news and was as shocked as everyone else. He went to the chapel to pray and later on tried to contact president Bush who was unable to be reached. The pope shed tears for all Americans.

The documentary 102 Minutes that Changed America relives the events of that day. One feels like it is happening again just watching it. The look of panic on the people of New York who are often stoic tells it all. The documentary feels surreal as if it were a movie. The scenes of September 11 look like scenes from monster movies like Godzilla or Cloverfield. I believe the latter borrowed from September 11 for its visual effects. Those of us alive and conscience that day made a promise never to forget. We must keep that promise.

I hope the day is set as a federal holiday so that it will be engraved on the memories of all, young and old. It should be taught in schools and moments of silent should be mandatory everywhere. Churches should ring their bells and lead the way. September 11th must never be forgotten.  It was a time that literally brought America to her knees, not in surrender or defeat, but in prayer. Unfortunately, a lot has happened since which has brought about the distrust of religion in America. We must change this.  Prayer must be a major part of the family and society if we are to prevent terrorism. Only prayer changes things.  Many today, including some Democrats mock the idea of prayer.  When mass shootings occur, they say "action not thoughts and prayers."  How ignorant are they to believe this? America has done "action." She has had laws, but laws fail.  Only God works.  Only prayer to God works.  Atheists may also have an issue with this and may go as far as to blame Islam or religion in general for world conflicts.  Studies show that the major conflicts in human history are caused by political tensions, not religion.  While those who perpetrated the attacks on 911 were Muslim, this does not mean Islam is at war with America.  Every group has its fanatics who go to the extreme to push their ideas. 

As we remember today, let us continue our promise never to forget.  Let us do good on this day and every day in honor of the victims. 

 













Source:

https://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Taliban-justifies-911-attacks-based-on-US-interventionist-policies-600967

https://pix11.com/2019/09/11/a-firefighter-killed-on-september-11-is-identified-18-years-later/

https://beta.washingtonpost.com/religion/2019/09/10/an-unsung-hero-attack-muslim-engineer-who-rebuilt-pentagon-crash-site-chapel/

https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/911-when-john-paul-ii-grieved-with-america-27065

https://pix11.com/2019/09/09/keeping-her-memory-alive-comic-honors-only-female-nypd-officer-killed-on-9-11/

https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/11/14/religions-war-cause-responsible-evidence_n_6156878.html?guccounter=1&guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuZ29vZ2xlLmNvbS8&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAANXd0GqGC7BUXoZzPfmOK2ynGjaUROVLofMl2B-P75_sIN22L6DZ5-79zYEAVGvC74-T8bV49jzxRf8dixGSr4rotM5-AKEJ1flceQjbP03k3pA-agmXR_NQbnrPTz2KtN2kwJnCF0PLcy8T_pBox6agzBfQuljbEWCuFwnp9Tmz

http://visionofhumanity.org/#/page/news/1085




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