It was just 18 years ago today. I was sitting at my desk at the radio station I was working for. I had made a couple of phone calls that morning and was probably on my third cup of coffee. The sales manager came in and said to us that a plane had just hit the World Trade Tower in New York City, and there were fatalities. He didn’t have any further information.
The only thing I could imagine was a prop plane sticking out of one of the tallest buildings in our country. It was almost a comical image in my mind. Then reality set in.
It wasn’t long after that a second plane hit the other tower. And a third plane crashed into the Pentagon in Washington, DC. And a fourth plane crashed into a rural field in Pennsylvania. We were a nation under attack.
Back then, just eighteen years ago, we pulled together as a nation. Oh, there were people that were angry that George W. Bush didn’t stop reading to a bunch of school children immediately, and go rushing out. There were angry people that couldn’t understand why the President of the United States was flying in Air Force One as opposed to being in the White House during this tragedy. But then again, we’ve always had lots of ignorant people who never took the time to understand the reality is such situations.
It was eighteen years ago today. And like the Kennedy assassination when I was just six years old, or the first moon landing when I was 12, I remember it like it was yesterday.
What is very difficult for me to fathom is that there is a whole generation of people already that don’t have any recollection of this. They never lived through the fear, the calling your loved one hundreds of miles away from New York to see if they were alright, when you knew damn well, there wouldn’t be any reason for them NOT to be alright. Those kids missed watching, as I did later that day at a client’s office, when the Trade
Towers actually collapsed.
We as Americans vowed that we would get those responsible. And we pretty much have. Osama bin Laden is dead. Many of the Taliban are dead. Certainly the 19 hijackers are dead. We’ve been fighting the war on terror ever since, and probably will continue to fight it well into the future. And yet, the new generation that didn’t live through that time can’t begin to imagine why we feel the way we do.
Today is a day to stop and reflect. It’s a time to understand why a lot of our country isn’t very welcoming to folks from that particular religion…who’s more radical elements want to destroy us. It’s a time to look with hope to the future, but learn from the past. I’m just wishing that we can actually do that. The sad part is, I’m not sure we’re able to any more.
Carry on world…you’re dismissed!