We have seen their kind before. They’re the heirs of all the murderous ideologies of the 20th century. By sacrificing human life to serve their radical visions, by abandoning every value except the will to power, they follow in the path of fascism, Nazism and totalitarianism. And they will follow that path all the way to where it ends in history’s unmarked grave of discarded lies. Americans are asking, “How will we fight and win this war?”
We will direct every resource at our command — every means of diplomacy, every tool of intelligence, every instrument of law enforcement, every financial influence, and every necessary weapon of war — to the destruction and to the defeat of the global terror network.
President George W. Bush, to a joint session of Congress September 21, 2001
My husband was supposed to fly somewhere on business this 9/11, and I raised an eyebrow and said, “you’re flying out on the evening of the 10th, right?”
He said, “nah, why make the company pay for a hotel room I don’t need? And besides I hate flying out on my day off…”
I nodded. “So, you’re flying out on the evening of the 10th, right?”
Of course I know it’s very unlikely that anything will happen to anyone flying on 9/11/06, but on 9/11/01, my husband was in the air, flying to Atlanta for business – and I remember what it felt like, wondering for a while – when so much was unknown – if his plane was one of those being used as war missiles. Remembering it all as clearly as I do, I simply don’t want him on a plane again, this 9/11, no matter how safe.
I knew, when the first plane hit the first tower, that this was a terrorist attack. My best friend – a bigger news junkie than I, whose television is always on – had called me up instructing me to turn on my own underused set. “A plane has hit the WTC,” she said. “A horrible accident!”
Looking at the terrible sight of the burning tower, the huge gaping hole that could not have been made by a small commuter plane, and the remarkably clear blue sky all around and I said to my pal, “This can’t be an accident. No pilot is going to ‘accidentally fly his plane into one of those towers, with perfect visibility…this is a terror attack.”
Dee, who is always looking for the best in everything admonished me, “oh, come on, that’s paranoid,” she said.
Her words were barely out of her mouth as we watched the second jet fly into the second tower. “What was that,” she cried, “was that another plane? We are under attack!” And even for the most optimistic person in the world, the whole world changed, forever. As reports began to come in of an attack on the Pentagon, a jet falling in Pennsylvania, a possible car bomb at the Supreme Court, Dee called back, “what is happening to my country?”
And Tom Brokaw’s voice could be heard behind an endless replay of the second plane hitting the WTC. “This is war,” said Brokaw…and back then – before politicos and deconstructionists had a few years to play in the mud – everyone understood what those three words meant.
Lorie Byrd says she is going to watch the real-time replay of that day, on the internet, at least partially. She hopes others will, too, and will consider all that has come about since then. Lorie writes:
I want to remember what it felt like, if just for a moment, to live in a Sept. 10 world.
I want to experience the feeling of utter disbelief that anyone would fly a plane full of innocent people into a building full of thousands just going about their daily jobs. That blissful ignorance I once knew died five years ago.[...]
The decision to invade Iraq was not made due to a connection between Saddam and the Sept. 11 attacks, but it did have everything to do with Sept. 11 and the commitment made to prevent a future attack.
On that day, we wondered why the dots were not connected. The president was determined that never again would our refusal to take action against a known threat result in the slaughter of innocent Americans. It is not yet clear which of the threats believed to exist from Saddam’s WMD program were real, and which were faulty intelligence.
What are you doing on 9/11? Have any plans? I’m going to write about one of the firefighters lost, and remember other FDNY friends of mine who lived through the day. I’m going to call a pal of mine who, ducking into a deli for a cup of coffee on his way to work, felt the impact of the first plane as it hit, and then watched scores of people jump to their deaths. I’m going to see how he’s doing. I’ve only seen him at parties, since then, and he always seems to have had a bit too much to drink. I’m going to watch 9 Innings from Ground Zero, (available in the video section of The Bookshelf) because it recalls the day and the weeks immediately after, and it shows us the nation united and purposeful, rallying behind a president who means to make sure we’re safer, and whose intentions have not yet been morphed into “some malevolent-and-fascist scheme to take away our civil liberties…” and whose poker hands have not yet been held up for everyone – including our enemies – to see by a confused and corrupted Fourth Estate, thus weakening us all.
I’m going to pray all the hours of the Divine Office, including the Office for the Dead, and I’m going to go to mass and pray for the living, particularly for the leadership of this country and our allies. I am going to watch a videotape of President Bush’s remarkable speech to the joint sessions of congress – a speech I have no doubt CSpan and CNN will not be replaying, but which more and more I am convinced we all need to see again – and I’m going to pray for our enemies…both foreign and domestic.
I don’t especially need to “remember” 9/11. I remember it, exceedingly well, indeed and in much detail. But I’m going to remember the days and weeks after 9/11 and wonder exactly how it is that some people can willfully forget or misunderstand so much. More on that insanity here.
Interesting comments at Wizbang.