Monday, September 11, 2023

September 11, We are Forgetting...

The Many Missed Signals Before 9/11

Few events in history have left as indelible a mark on the collective consciousness as the September 11 attacks. The catastrophic destruction of the World Trade Center towers in New York City, along with the attack on the Pentagon and the downing of United Airlines Flight 93, changed the course of history forever. But what led to this tragic day? How did U.S. leaders miss so many warning signs, allowing such a devastating event to occur?

The Long Run-Up

Al Qaeda, founded in 1988, had been brewing for over a decade before 9/11. Most Americans didn't fully grasp that the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center was just the beginning of something much larger. While it may have seemed like an isolated incident at the time, those on the periphery recognized connections to Osama bin Laden and his associates. Bin Laden himself was an unindicted co-conspirator in that earlier attack, and his name kept cropping up in relation to extremist activities.

An Organized Crime

The plot behind 9/11 was an intricate conspiracy that spanned different phases and cells over a significant period. It wasn't merely a single event but rather an organized act of terrorism. The specific conspiracy leading to hijackings and attacks on 9/11 had roots stretching back to the end of the Afghan War and fundraising operations for jihadis during the 1980s.

The Unseen Web

For most Americans, 9/11 seemed to come out of nowhere. However, it had been brewing for years. Al Qaeda's founding in 1988 marked thirteen years before that fateful day. People should have paid more attention, especially those at the CIA who ran the bin Laden unit and New York police and FBI agents focused on jihadi groups in Brooklyn.

Global Condemnation

World leaders, political representatives, religious figures, and international media universally condemned the attacks. Even governments traditionally hostile to the United States—such as Cuba, Iran, Libya, and North Korea—denounced them. However, some reports suggested celebrations of the attacks or accused the U.S. of bringing them upon itself. These claims remain uncorroborated and often link to unsubstantiated conspiracy theories.

U.S. Response

In response to 9/11, President George W. Bush declared a war on terrorism. The goals included bringing Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda to justice while preventing other terrorist networks from emerging. Economic sanctions, military actions against states harboring terrorists, global surveillance, and intelligence sharing became key strategies.

The overthrow of Taliban rule in Afghanistan by a U.S.-led coalition marked one of the largest operations directly connected to terrorism outside U.S. borders.

The Enduring Legacy

Two decades later, Americans still feel sadness when watching TV coverage of those horrific events. The attacks permanently changed how we live our lives. As we remember September 11th each year, we must also reflect on missed signals and lessons learned—so that history never repeats.

We Will Never Forget

Lastly, we all who were born and alive in 2001 into 2002 promised that "We Would Never Forget." The attack on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the jetplanes that were taken over were something America has never seen before. Yes, we had the battles and war during the colonies-Great Britain conflicts, the attack on Pearl Harbor, and even the bombing at the World Trade Center in 1993. We had the shoot at Columbine High School in 1999; however, September 11 in 2001 was something different and unique.

It was a coordinated effort to attack the United States of America and intimidate the nation.  Over 3,000 people died on that day.  Every year we commemorate this day by reading the names of the deceased, telling stories about their heroism, and gathering at the spots where they tragically died.   Many news networks replace the news of that day as if it were happening. The video back then looked clear despite being standard definition. It looks blurry and "old" now due to the advances in television technology with high definition, 2k, 4k, and now even 8k. Nevertheless, the news of that day is still as bothersome and shocking today as it was on that day when we all were anxious and not sure what was going on.

I remember CBS 2 as the only channel operating in the Bronx. All the others had their transmitters on the World Trade Center. CBS had one there and on the Empire State Building.  The cell phones were working erratically. We were getting calls from different numbers and our numbers showed up differently on the caller ID of others. Landlines were busy. It was total chaos. The memories are engraved in us who were conscious on that day.

But after 2011, it seemed things had been dying down. The memories are fading. People are not remembering it as before. The prayers and thoughts are gone. There are no big religious services anymore. No word from the Archbishop of NY despite his predecessor Cardinal Egan being present as the buildings fell. I remember him looking scared saying "God help us" almost in shock full of soot from the collapsed towers.  

It seems we are forgetting. We are becoming desensitized. Perhaps due to the world conflicts happening now or perhaps we are just exhausted from the constant shootings in our cities, schools, and other areas. We are just so used to violence now that September 11, 2001, is being forgotten. Perhaps the fact that the date was never declared a holiday for us to stay home from school and work to remember.  There are many reasons we can think of as to why September 11 is being forgotten.

In any event, we must continue our promise even after the last living witness has gone and passed.  We must never forget!  If we forget, history may repeat itself.  I am afraid it may be worse. As technology advances, we will see new threats. Our descendants will see even worse threats. Right now we have metal detectors and other security measures set in place to prevent the hijacking of planes. We go through long lines, remove our shoes, and even get extreme pat downs that borderline constitutionality. 

Despite these, we see people opening doors on jets in the air. We see the numerous fights that take place with rowdy passages. We saw a pilot intentionally crash the plane in Europe and there is only a matter of time before a pilot with mental illness will attempt something dangerous.  This is now in the 21st century, imagine later with the advancement of AI and ways to fool detectors and screening tactics!  We may see another September 11 take place here or around the world if we forget. If we forget, our alert will go down. We will become complacent with "well enough" like we were on September 10, 2001.  It cannot be like this!  We must never forget, not only to honor the dead on that tragic day but to prevent it from happening again.  Let us never forget!


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