Over at Revolutionary Media, I posted my reflections on the 10th (!) anniversary of a day that will forever live in infamy:
It’s almost unfathomable that we are already marking ten years since the worst attack on American soil murdered 3,000 innocents and awakened us (those of us who are willing to study history and consider the facts, unburdened by political castration — to use my friend WARCHICK’s term) to the stark realities of political Islam, global jihad and Sharia Law.
Heralding the 10th anniversary of the most horrific attack on American soil, the question “Where were you on September 11?” has been making the rounds on Facebook and other social media sites, with answers as varied and diverse as the American populace itself. One I highly recommend comes from my Facebook friend Stephanie Janiczek, who at the time worked for the Leadership Institute in D.C:
Ten years ago today I was working at the Leadership Institute. I was the Assistant Director of Employment Placement and helping conservatives with their resumes and finding jobs in Washington DC. It never occured to me that by noon September 11, 2001, that world I was living in and making a life for myself in would forever be altered. I can’t think of anyone I know who saw 9-11 up close and personal who does not feel that way. What we saw was history in all of its awful brutality.
We remember the little things more clearly I think than the bigger moments of that day. We all remember 9-11-01 being a gorgeous late summer day. The sun was already slowly making its way towards the south, the slant of its light made a dance of diamonds on the gentle rolling waves of the Potomac, and the rivers surrounding Manhattan. There was an edge to the air, the slight whisper of autumn. That was how 9-11-01 began. And by the end of that day, as the tired summer’s sun faded into the west, it was still a glorious day…a horrible glorious day.
I grew up hearing about Pearl Harbor, my parents walking into an apartment in Chicago where my grandparents lived and being told Pearl Harbor had been attacked and according to my Mom, her aunt telling her that it was the end of the world. Did our horror on that day in September of 2001 reflect the same horror that our parents and grandparents felt upon hearing about Pearl Harbor? Is horror of being attacked by a military entity like the Japanese Navy the same as the horror we felt on 9-11? Is the evil that drove the Nazis and the Japanese Empire the same kind of evil that drove Bin Laden? Does evil morph itself into different things in order to perpetuate itself? These are the questions I have had since 9-11-01 and I have yet to be able to answer those questions. What happened to us that day was an act of evil that was not merely committed against two of our cities but an act of evil committed against our entire nation. That is the reality. The 19 terrorists wanted to kill Americans and they did. They don’t seperate us between Democrat and Republican. They wanted to kill all of us. They attacked the anchor of our economy and our military. They attacked the symbols of the USA that the world knows, respects and fears for no rational reason and therefore are evil and they prove evil exists. There is no clinician that can make an excuse for it, or explain it away because evil is what it is, a reality we all must face.
We have those who want to make excuses, who look at the images and see perhaps a reality show, scripted and rehearsed. They are unable to deal with the reality of the situation. The questions they ask are childish. Why don’t they like us? For those of us who understand history that question is silly because as we all know Abel’s next door neighbor was Cain, and this immaturity of such a ridiculous question should embarress those who ask those questions. Does it matter why? In reality asking why is a denial of what happened and a reach to understand something that does not deserve to be understood. Because attempting to understand the hatred of Bin Laden and the men who followed him and still follow his lead is an attempt at dialogue with them and they do not deserve that act of deference. Like Adolph Hitler and his SS executioners Osama bin Laden and Al Quada, the Wahhabists themselves do not deserve that respect. They do not deserve that compassion.
The long lense of history of that day ten years ago and the reveberating effects that huge events like 9-11 seem to cause many of us to remember feelings of confusion. Its the same for all of us who ran from Washington DC, or from the Twin Towers.
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It seems unreal that it’s already been 10 long years since I was driving to my old job as a bank recruiter in Boca Raton, Florida, cruising down scenic A1A for what I’d expected to be another typical day at the office. We had a group of applicants coming in for the mandatory employment assessment, and with my recruiting assistant off for the morning I’d be handling what would normally have been her responsibility.
During that beautiful drive, for whatever reason, I’d opted to listen to a regular pop-music FM station in lieu of my typical motivational CD, in a break from my usual routine. The morning show featuring two fun-loving guys and a girl was proceeding along in typical irreverent fashion when the news came in that the World Trade Center in New York had been struck by an airplane. Absent more elaborate detail, the radio hosts surmised it must’ve been a private plane – possibly piloted by a novice – since the picture-perfect weather would seem to preclude any other possibility. After all, a seasoned commercial or private pilot would surely know enough to avoid crashing into an office tower if his aircraft was failing. That was the thought I held in mind as I entered through the double-glass doors of my building and greeted the folks who’d already assembled in the lobby.
But just as I’d set up the applicants in the conference room, the surreal events of the day began to play out in a frenzy of panic and helplessness. First, the administrative assistant who worked upstairs hysterically rushed into my office to announce we were under attack by terrorists, who’d somehow managed to take control of a large, commercial jet and turn it into a weapon of bloody destruction. Without the benefit of a television, I was struggling to wrap my brain around that horrific scenario when a financial center employee bounded through the office doors to inform us that another plane had hit the second tower. Then a little while later, news of the attack on the Pentagon and the spine-tingling story of United 93. And finally, the shocking news that all flights had been grounded, the final confirmation (as if we’d needed any at that point) that life had been forever altered.
Perhaps the most surreal moment occurred when that same financial center employee returned from his trip to the upstairs lunchroom (home to the only television in the building), and breathlessly announced that the World Trade Center was now “a pile of rubble”. I remember feeling incredulous, as if how dare he make such an exaggeration! Wasn’t the news already horrific enough?
Of course, 10 years and several attacks (e.g. London subway bombings, Madrid bombings) and attempted attacks later (e.g. the foiled plots to blow up airliners over the Atlantic from Heathrow Airport, and to destroy the Library Tower in Los Angeles) – combined with a newfound knowledge of Islam, thanks to scholars like Robert Spencer and authors like Brigitte Gabriel – none of the sheer barbarism of 9/11 will ever again evoke that initial, naïve feeling of surprise and denial. Like many other Americans, I’ve come to recognize and expect nothing but guttural savagery and brutality from a totalitarian political ideology that wraps itself up in the cloak of religion. Its adherents are people like the Palestinians who danced gleefully in the streets, quite proud of the death and destruction their fellow death-cultists wrought upon innocent civilians in the name of Allah – all to further their purpose of destroying the “Great Satan” America.
They’re the same militants who oppress women and infidels, committing unspeakable atrocities like genital mutilation, stoning, honor killing, beheadings and pedophilia – and who go on worldwide killing sprees over cartoon Mohammads, brandishing signs that say, “Behead those who insult Islam.”
In stark contrast, the heroes of September 11 – from firefighters and police to everyday citizens and local officials – stand as an eternal testament to the resiliency and nobility of the human spirit in a free society, even under the direst of circumstances, even when put through the most horrific of tribulations. As story after story of heroism unfolded, anger and sadness mixed with an undeniable pride in my fellow countrymen. Under the worst of circumstances, the best of humankind emerged. It is an abject disgrace and a blight on Mayor Bloomberg and New York City that these remarkable American patriots — along with clergy representative of various faiths and Christian denominations — have been excluded from the 10th Anniversary commemoration just to make room for self-serving politicians.
Perhaps the most stunning testament to the sheer magnitude of the day’s terror, and the unfathomable conditions inside the World Trade Center towers comes from those who deliberately jumped. Who among us can even imagine how hellish it must’ve been, when plunging 90-plus stories to a violent end is the preferable option? The haunting images of these souls hanging out of the windows and ultimately free-falling – some alone, others holding hands, will forever remain in my memory.
That day, Americans witnessed a gut-wrenching juxtaposition of the very best and the very worst of human nature. We realized that we share the planet with an alarming number of people who value death in the same way we value life. In the wake of September 11, we experienced a rebirth of patriotism and brotherhood as citizens from coast to coast gave money, donated blood, offered up prayer and swore they’d “Never Forget”. American flags sprouted up everywhere, decorating cars, offices and homes.
Sadly, for reasons best left to another post, this phenomenon was all too fleeting. But on this 10th anniversary of September 11, 2001, I pray for our nation to find the courage to boldly confront the enemies of freedom and to valiantly fight for the way of life bequeathed to us by our Founding Fathers. It’s the least we can do to honor the sacrifices made by our fellow Americans on a day that will forever live on in infamy.