“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to reap;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to breakdown, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.”
Ecclesiastes 3: 1 – 8
On September 11, 2001, as I was getting dressed to go to work, my wife was fixing breakfast while watching the news on TV. She came into the bedroom and said that a plane had gone into the World Trade Center. I assumed it was some wacko in a small, private plane or something, and I thought to myself, “How much damage can that do?” So, I went about getting ready for the day’s work. Then, as I walked into the kitchen to sit down for breakfast, I happened to look at the TV and saw the second plane hit the buildings. Now my thought was, “Wait, that’s a big plane!”.
We all know the rest of the story.
Instead of writing my usual type of column this time, it seems appropriate to do something different. As I think back to that day, some memories and images are still vivid. Here are some vignettes of my remembrances from that day and afterwards.
- Firemen going into the buildings as the office workers were coming out, running for their lives.
- The poignant spectacle of people jumping from the top floors of the buildings, since there was no escape route and their only alternative was to be burned alive.
- The building collapsing on itself, with people running away in the streets from the huge dust cloud coming their way, like something out of a space invaders movie.
- When I got to the office, how odd and abnormal it was that no airplanes were landing at the nearby, major airport.
- People on the doomed planes calling their loved ones on cell phones to say goodbye.
- Learning the story of the plane that was apparently trying to hit the White House but which was brought down in the Pennsylvania countryside by some of the passengers who stormed the cockpit.
- An interdenominational prayer service at a Mosque in the city where I lived.
- The feeling of oneness and unity and solemnity we had as a country.
- President Bush telling the world that if they weren’t with us in our war on terror, then they were against us.
- People dancing in the streets in the Arab world.
This was the second “day of infamy” experienced by America. And now, as with the first, it has been avenged.
I am so proud of our armed forces, and especially the Navy Seals who executed this raid flawlessly. But they couldn’t have done it alone. The intelligence community also deserves our praise, as do all of the people in various supporting roles.
And now, let us once again remember those who died on 911 and say another little prayer for them and their families. Let us vow that they shall not have died in vain, that America will continue to be strong, free, a place where all men are created equal and endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, a shining city on a hill, the world’s last best hope.
God bless America, land that I love.