Today marks the 11th anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks that lead to other airborne attacks, and the attack on the Pentagon. I recall exactly where I was when it happened and what my initial reaction was.
Like many, I thought a plane had violated airspace and that the New York (ZNY to those who work in the aviation industry), air traffic controllers were about to catch-all kinds of hell for allowing it to happen. We rushed to the internet and saw breaking news on CNN that one and then two planes had crashed into the World Trade Center and was the act of terrorists. Many of us rushed to the phone to call friends and family in NYC to find out if they were okay.
I called by God Brother who was working in the financial district and got his voicemail. I then tried to call my Godmother and her husband who was visiting from London as they were in Brooklyn at the time and they were supposed to go to the WTC that day.
My heart ached and I anxiously waited to hear from all of them. Another coworker had family who were at their place of business be adversely affected by the fall out, but fortunately they survived. Another coworker waited frantically to hear from his wife who was also in that area. We all rallied around each other and promised to make contact once we’d heard word since we were being sent home early from work. I contacted close friends whose son; a Marine who worked on the flight detail for the President. I was told he was fine and would be kept on active detail until things stabilized. It was all so emotional and frantic.
As the day progressed and images flooded the various news streams, I thought about my daughter who was in middle school at the time. I wondered what she’d heard and how she felt about the news. Given I was not retired from the service yet, I was concerned that I may get called to active duty to provide support where necessary and applicable. The fighter pilots of my unit did in fact respond to the attacks given our proximity to NYC and Washington, D.C and uncertainty reigned supreme that day and the days thereafter.
I did finally hear from my family and they were all well. While I’m an extremely punctual person and take offense when we work on “CP” time, I can honestly say I was thankful for it on that fateful day because G-mum and her husband woke up late and didn’t make it to NYC on time. Given that 9/11 is two days before my birthday, I had even more to be grateful and thankful for that year because even though I was unable to see them due to restrictions on travel in and out of NYC, they still had their lives. Sadly, so many others were lost that day.
I’ve visited the area where the World Trade Center used to be and it was freakishly eerie, emotionally disturbing, and extremely hard to be in. I recalled memories of taking my daughter and then stepson to the WTC and watching them have so much fun in the building. I recall the many times that area was stomping grounds when I lived in northern New Jersey (NoJo) and the many times I’d visited after relocating to Southern New Jersey (SoJo). My heart ached for the countless lives that were taken, interrupted and adversely affected by the attacks. I’m not sure I’d want to go back to that area even though at some point I may have to if a family member from overseas wanted to visit.
To date, there are still many unanswered questions and the truth will never be known. Osama Bin Laden will be the man held accountable and frankly it is what it is. It was a sad day in America and an even sadder day for those who lost their lives as a result. I personally thank those firefighters, police, EMTs, and countless volunteers who assisted in trying to save lives.
Unfortunately, I’m a little torn in some of my other feelings for that day because I found it amazing how Americans suddenly claimed their patriotism, but worse made innocent people victims of their unfounded prejudice to Muslims and other who ‘looked like’ the terrorists named in the attacks. When asked, I can’t say I feel any safer now than I did 11 years ago. I don’t think Homeland Security, The TSA, or the Customs and Border Patrol gives me a sense of security. In fact, I feel the excessiveness of some of their tactics makes me feel more violated than secure. I’m not suggesting we don’t need to be more aware and get the impression we’re more secure, but knowing what I know, so much of it simply plays and preys on people’s fears; thus, forcibly allowing ourselves to be treated the way we are without protest.
Some 9/11 Information that you may want to explore.
I will not force my sentiments on anyone and I have my reasons for how I feel. All I do hope though, is that we can come together on one accord always in all ways to and for each other. We all live in this country and regardless of your beliefs, inflicting harm on others because they’re different or share a different viewpoint is just wrong. No matter our skin colour; our blood all bleeds red. What’s different on the outside is the same on the inside, so it’s time we start seeing beyond the obvious and get to the heart of the matter…the person. Let’s stop being sheep and being lead or being persuaded by news media. Step outside the box, do some research, and think for yourselves.
We need more love. We need more understanding. We need more compassion. We need more truth.
That is all!