Friday, September 11, 2009
I started blogging last October so I missed commenting about 7th anniversary of the September 11th Terrorist Attack. I'm not about to miss commenting on the 8th.
I was still on active duty in the fall of 2001 and was working out at the McChord Air Force Base (AFB) gym on the morning of the attack. I was on a cardio machine watching the newscasts from one of several TVs arrayed around the cardio room. Unfortunately I forgot my headsets that morning.
Shortly before 6 AM here on the west coast, all the stations interrupted their regular programs with pictures of smoke pouring out of one of the World Trade Center's buildings. I asked the guy next to me what was going on. He told me the news was reporting a plane crashed into the North Tower.
Having been raised in upstate New York and visiting "the city" (New York City as we call it), I thought something was wrong right away. It was a clear day. The last time I knew of a plane crashing into a Manhattan skyscraper was in 1945, when a B-25 ploughed into the Empire State Building under dense fog.
As I was contemplating this I saw an image of a passenger jet slamming into the World Trade Center. I thought it was some computer animation of the initial crash. Then the guy next to me leaned over and said another plane hit the South Tower.
This was my "WTF Moment." Now I knew these were deliberate acts.
By the time my workout was over, both towers had collapsed, the Pentagon was hit and United Airlines Flight 93 crashed in a field in Somerset County, PA.
All of this unfolded before my eyes while at the gym.
Here I was, a member of the US military sworn to protect our nation, and yet I felt completely helpless as 2,996 of our fellow Americans were murdered.
By the time I was leaving, an announcement was made that all active duty personnel were to report to their units.
Things were chaotic to say the least, for some weeks after the attack. Traffic jams were a daily occurrence at the gates to all military installations as the police forces tried coping with the increased security requirements.
The skies were also devoid of aircraft for some time after the attack. I can't remember when aircraft were allowed to fly but the absence of jet noise, especially for living by Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SeaTac), was unsettling. Not only that thousands, perhaps millions of travellers were left stranded--including my future mother-in-law.
My wife & I were dating at the time. We were suppose to fly up to Alaska for her brother's wedding, which I think was to be held on the 15th, then a Saturday. My mother-in-law-to-be was already in Alaska when the attacks occurred, leaving her stranded for several days.
The following month we struck back.
Timeline of the attack according to Wikipedia:
Mark Steyn reposted his initial comments on the attack here:
Shortly after the dust settled from the collapsed towers we began hearing 9/11 was "an inside job," "America had it coming" and other such tripe. As time's gone by the groups voicing such tripe have become more vocal. Now we're hearing from this administration and his supporters that Former President Bush "overreacted."
What these folks don't realize is their opinion is irrelevant. As long as our enemies believe they are waging holy jihad, then our nation will continue to be under a state of war.
Under such circumstances there can only be one outcome: One side or the other will be defeated.
I pray to God that it won't be us.
I will NEVER FORGET.