It’s incredible to think its been that long.
September 11, 2001. Or, as it’s better known today, “9/11”. The day four commercial jet airlines were commandeered by several people loyal to Al Queda, and its leader Osama Bin Laden, and were used as weapons against the two World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon. The fourth plane wound up crashing into a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The people on that final flight were aware of the hijacking and fought back but ultimately lost their lives in the crash.
I watched the event as it unfolded way back when and, frankly, the whole thing was beyond surreal. If my memory serves, I started watching the coverage only moments before the second airliner hit the World Trade Center.
Yeah, I watched in horror as it hit the building.
I watched on, in growing horror, as the two buildings’ top floors were engulfed in fire.
I watched in horror as the announcer -I believe it was the late Peter Jennings- was talking about the situation and was unaware as the first building fell.
It was hard not to throw up.
Grim and horrible as those events were, the time immediately after 9/11 had the country, and the world, coming together in a way we hadn’t seen in a very long time. Despite the deaths, despite the destruction, despite the madness and fear, there was a feeling we could do well and come out of this -as a nation and a world- better and stronger.
It was not to be.
Sadly, George Bush, perhaps egged on by VP Dick Cheney, used the tragedy to demand an invasion of Iraq, a nation which had nothing at all to do with Osama Bin Laden and Al Queda, who were stationed in Afghanistan.
Even more sadly, too many on both sides of the aisle felt invading Iraq and ridding it of Saddam Hussein was a worthwhile goal despite the questionable intelligence presented to justify it. George W. Bush, whose father was involved in the first invasion of Iraq and who was targeted subsequently by Hussein for assassination, was even quoted at one point stating he wanted to do this because of what Hussein tried to do against his father. One couldn’t help but wonder how much of that war was a result of a personal vendetta.
The Bush administration, riding high on the polls, got their war but the public would soon enough turn against it. George W. Bush lost faith in Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. When Bush left office, his approval ratings, sky high immediately after 9/11, were in the toilet and even the Republicans didn’t mention his name much in the subsequent Presidential election.
And today, we’re still dealing with the repercussions of 9/11.
The loss of life and horror of 9/11 should never be forgotten.
The heroism of those who lost their lives, including the fire fighters who climbed the stairs of the World Trade Center and lost their lives in its collapse, must never be forgotten.
The evil perpetuated by people like Osama Bin Laden must be fought and eradicated.
It goes without saying.