Friday, January 25, 2008

September 11th. A day our country will remember forever

This is a journal entry I wrote on either September 12th or 13th.

There is a ton of speculation and mis-information in here. I kept a journal strictly about September 11th for about two months, then have updated it every year since then about how our country is still affected by this date. The effects it is having and the fact that we are still at war and still have not captured Bin Laden.

Here is my first entry...

Tuesday, September 11th 2001 is a day that I will never forget. It started out just like any other day. I was baby sitting Piper that morning. Shane, her dad, dropped her off shortly after 6:00 a.m. She was sound asleep so I had Bryan lay her in the pack and play and we went back to bed. Not to long after, Bryan got up and went to work. Within minutes of when he left, the phone rang; I got out of bed and answered the phone to find my mom on the other end. She asked if I was awake and I told her I had just gotten up. She told me to turn my T.V. on; there had just been a terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. I never in my wildest dreams imagined that what I would see on the television that day was possible!

Two commercial airliners had been highjacked shortly after take off from east coast airports. Both airplanes, fully loaded with fuel had originally been headed for California when they were taken over and turned back toward the East. In a monstrous attack on American civilization, they were then flown one at a time into each of the World Trade Center's twin towers. The WTC twin towers are a place of business for over 50,000 people, with an average of 100,000 visitors per day.

As I turned the television on that morning, I was immediately drawn to a picture of the burning, and smoking building. I was numb with shock by the simple idea that something of this magnitude could happen on American soil. We have always been the ones to rush to help people in these situations; things like this simply do not happen to Americans! The north tower, or Tower One, was the first hit. It was hit in the upper third of the building. Less than 20 minutes later, as people were standing, watching in shock and devastation and the north tower burned, a second plane came into sight. There were screams and utter disbelief as people watched a second airliner disappear into the second, south, tower of the World Trade Center. Immediately a great fire ball exploded from the side of the building where the plane had disappeared. With the aid of the jet fuel from the airliners, the fire burned so hot and so intensely that there was no escape for some of the terrorized people in the upper floors of the sky scrappers. There are pictures, and video of people jumping. How terrifying that must have been to feel so trapped and so hopeless that you feel your best action would be to throw yourself from a window and plummet to your death rather than be burned. I have seen the news footage over and over with my own eyes and it is still beyond my ability to comprehend that something like this has actually happened. This is the stuff of horror movies and nightmares!

As I stood in my living room that morning, the phone pressed to my ear telling my mother details of everything I saw, I just kept waiting for the announcement that it was all a hoax, that someone had sent computer animated footage to a news station as some horrible prank. Sadly, that was not the case, what was happening was all too real. My eyes played a trick on me; there was suddenly a huge cloud of smoke. They must have changed the angle of the camera because I could only see one building. Then it hit me, the huge cloud of smoke was dust and debris from the collapse of the south tower. How could this possibly be happening, it was too much for my mind to comprehend. I was in shock. No too long after the collapse of the south tower, the north tower followed. Another enormous plume of debris, dust, and smoke as the second 110 story building crumpled to the ground.

That was not the only tragedy that day, a third airliner, also from an east coast airport had taken off around the same time as the first two. It was also fully fueled and headed across the continent to California. It was also highjacked shortly after takeoff and turned back to the East. The officials believe, according to some documentation later uncovered that the third airliner was originally headed for the White House. We do not know why, but instead of hitting its original target, the plane exploded into the Pentagon, the heart of the American Military. The pentagon burned and eventually a large section collapsed.

A fourth airplane was taken hostage and turned back toward the east coast. We do not know for sure if it was the passengers that did it, but a phone call from a man on the plane told his mom there was a group of them that were going to try to overtake the highjackers. That plane thankfully did not reach its destination, sadly however it crashed into a corn field in Pennsylvania. While the lives of those on the plane were lost, they saved the lives of the people on the ground that were at the location of the planes intended target. We do not know for sure where the plane was headed, some say Camp David, and some say the Capitol. We may never know for sure, we can only be thankful that the plane didn't reach its target.

There is a rumor that there was a fifth plane targeted at Air Force One, the President's personal jet. No one knows for sure what happened to that plane. There was an altercation between a ticket agent and three Arabic men the morning of the attack. The ticket agent called the authorities, and by the time they arrived the men had disappeared. Perhaps they were the intended pilots for the fifth plane. We may never know the answer to that either.

There are so many things to mourn; the potential loss of life is enormous. The original estimates are in the tens of thousands. They have close to 300 firefighters and rescue workers that had gone into the buildings after the crash and before the collapse that are unaccounted for. Nearly 100 police and other officers unaccounted for, not to mention all of the workers in the three collapsed buildings. Add to that all the people hurt or killed by falling debris caused by the collapse.

Today is 9-13-01, the rescue effort is mounting. From the second of the collapse people have been working frantically to reach those trapped inside the fallen buildings. People from all over the country are driving to New York and Washington to aid in the rescue effort. They are unable to fly because, due to the nature of the attack, for the first time in American history, ALL air traffic has been banned. There is not a single airplane or helicopter allowed in the air with the exception of military craft.

They now estimate there are 18 highjackers; they know each of them by name and discovered that most of them received their flight training here in the United States. It had been believed from the very beginning that this is the work of Osama bin Laden, a very wealthy and connected terrorist who is currently hiding out in Afghanistan. The US has made it clear that they consider this to be an act of war and punishment will be fierce. Both for Osama bin Laden and any person or country that harbors him.

There have been threats and hate crimes against Arabics living in the United States. I know in my heart they are not responsible for this act, but it is so hard for me not to blame the entire country for the work of one man.

My prayers go up daily for the family, friends and co-workers of those who perished in this attack. My prayers go out to every American for this has surely changed us all. There is no way this act could leave us un-affected; it has changed our very existence, our way of life. It will be a long time before we feel safe again, and we will never forget the things that have happened.

When I was growing up, I asked my parents "Where were you when John F. Kennedy was shot?" Someday my children will ask me "Where were you when the World Trade Center/ Pentagon terrorist attack happened"

My answer...In my living room, glued with horror to my television screen, grieving for the lives lost, the lives destroyed. And devastated by the hatred that must have been in the hearts of the men responsible for this most horrible act against man kind, against my fellow Americans.