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11.9.06

11 SEPTEMBER 2001: FIVE YEARS LATER

What I am about to present to you this morning is a serious assessment of the events of this day in 2001...five years ago...as they unfolded in front of me.
About 6.30a I got up and bathed then dressed in preparation for my day at work at a local golf course.
7.00a I ate breakfast thinking only about getting the men's locker room cleaned up, picking up trash round the car park, and getting some cleanup in the pool area.
7.20a I left for work. I got into my black 1990 Mitsubishi Eclipse and drove down to 13th Street. Right turn, West 13th, past the Safeway Bakery, Maiden Lane, the ABC12 studios, the all-way stop at Schifferdecker Avenue, the Lozier factory just down that street, KSN16 just down Cleveland Av, on past the golf shop and driving range, and stopped at another all-way stop at Country Club Road. Left turn, Country Club Road, stopped for a school bus, continued to another all-way stop at West 20th.
7.30a I arrived at work. Met with my supervisor, a BIG man named Stan Walton, about 6.2, 370lb, admittedly fat, but he certainly is not lazy. I weighed 185lb and I can barely keep up with him. Half the time I can't even find him! He's busier than hell...and anyone who spent a DAY with him would understand that quickly. Some heavier folks will surprise you with how active they really are. Fat does NOT mean lazy! Stan moved around like a pinball, man. We chatted briefly then I headed to the men's locker room with the vacuum cleaner and some custodial supplies.
Started cleaning the toilets, urinals, and the showers.
About 9.00a I was vacuuming the locker room at Twin Hills Country Club and was getting the last bit of carpet underneath the door leading into the clubhouse restaurant. I opened the door...and a television in the corner opposite the door showed a burning World Trade Centre South Tower.
Word is an aeroplane had flown through the building, a commercial airliner, in what had turned out to be a hijacking with sinister and homicidal tendencies. This airborne homicide bombing had already begun shocking Americans including us.

By 9.30a another hijacked aeroplane had hit the North Tower. We continued watching in shock. I went about my duties as much as possible. Suddenly discussions about the unfolding events in New York were erupting spontaneously, even as official club policy discouraged discussions between employees and members.

Then word came that another airliner had hit the Pentagon, shattering about a fifth of the defence headquarters. We were even more horrified. News came that another aeroplane had been crashed into a cow pasture in Somerset County, Pennsylvania.

At about 10.00a we started setting up televisions tuned to each of the three local TV stations...7Strong near Pittsburg, Kansas, in this case the studios are 10mi south of Pittsburg and maybe 30mi from Joplin, and ABC12 and KSN16 as well. The clubhouse kitchen radio was tuned to continuous coverage on ABC News Radio at about 10.20 when I was walking through the kitchen and heard a woman crying angrily that she wanted whatever country would do this to be annihilated.

Then the orders came down from the executive levels to ground all air travel, even using fighter jets to use lethal force as needed, with flights from foreign destinations being diverted to Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and other Canadian destinations. Needless to say the transportation grid was thrown into utter chaos...thanks to what turned out to be a terrorist gang called AlQaeda, led by Osama BinLaden.

Initially a gang of terrorists unwilling to accept Israeli law, calling themselves part of an area called "Palestine" whilst totally disgracing Islam AND the Arab peoples, had claimed responsibility.

In the coming days we would learn more about the terrorists who attacked in New York, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. We would learn about 19 Arabic men, 15 from Saudi Arabia alone---this is not a slight against Saudi Arabia, for as much contempt as they have for Israel even the Saudis have clamped down on terrorists, killing many of them in gun battles; that is just the ugly and bitter reality of the situation.But the terrorists---I don't even want to call them Arabs or Muslims, because they truly represent neither---had a deadly and destructive secret that was unfurled upon us in the early morning hours.
And as a result we would seek out the terrorists and their acolytes...and even seek out ways to prevent terrorist activity in future. We have since conducted a war on terror that has successfully liberated more than 52 million people in Afghanistan and Iraq. We have admittedly a lot of collateral damage to address and some 2 500 brave American soldiers lost in Iraq and others lost in Afghanistan, though we have helped rebuild the environment and infrastructure of both countries, but we have had to relearn a lesson past generations have had to learn:

Freedom is not free (1), eternal vigilance is required to maintain freedom (2), and political correctness and partisanism are no good excuses to neglect our national security (3).

It turned out that President Clinton had permitted a lot of terror suspects into the country and had neglected our border security and our national defence...but then again this is a problem that could at elast in part predate his tenure, as well as those of the elder President Bush, President Reagan, President Carter, and darned if even a small element of that doesn't even predate President Ford...and even then this is NOT what this entry is about.
This is NOT about drawing political lines or assigning ideological blame---though there is evidence leaning in a certain direction, not unlike that which may be unfolding as a recent ABC-TV film was attacked for a sequence that President Clinton and his acolytes did not like, and may have gotten censored or dumped, that may have upset the Democrats.
And this is on top of the blame that both parties have assigned each other, further fuelling a political cola war that has become very untenable for most Americans.

I rejoiced at the victories the American military achieved in Kabul, in Baghdad, and even when Libyan president Moamar Gaddafi volunteered his WMD collection to the Coalition of the Willing. I was pleased to find willing partners in that coalition in Britain, Australia, and Poland amongst other countries...and came to appreciate Tony Blair, Leszek Miller, and especially John Howard.

But as I drove away from work on 11 September 2001 at about noon I was left rather stunned as were everyone else, and later that afternoon I was driving through downtown Joplin when I was handed a free special edition of the local newspaper. It was a brief eight-page special edition showing us the horrific attacks including the scenes of the burning World Trade Centre on the front page.And for the next solid week all that the television news talked about was the terrorist attacks, including the realisation that the Pennsylvania crash claimed the aeroplane that had been intended for the White House or the Capitol Building in Washington...the one we now know as United Flight 93, the source of a few recent films as well. It angered me more and more that we would have been attacked like this...As I think about the horrors of that morning, the amazing rescues and amazing people who helped each other out of the building, I have a few more thoughts in mind...

Where were you on 11 September 2001?

What were you doing on 11 September 2001?

What were you doing when the planes hit?

How did you react?

What did you think about when you heard the news?

Are there any other sentiments you felt at that time?

And if you must present a political viewpoint, PLEASE refrain from using irrational partisan hatred on either side.

It is bad enough that we have so much of it in so many other issues. This is a time for healing and unity, not enmity and division.
This is where I turn this weblog over to you the reader to share your experiences about 11 September 2001.

1 Comments:

Blogger Prodge said...

Five years and what's happened?

Osama still not caught.

Over 20,000 civilians dead.

Millions of people worldwide hating America.

Nearly 10,000 military servicemen dead.

Yeah, well done Bush. What a great war, it's achieving soooo much good!

12/4/07 21:54  

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