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On 20th anniversary of 9/11, questions, anger and death linger

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  • On 20th anniversary of 9/11, questions, anger and death linger

    Hard to believe it's been 20 years. I remember I was at work when the first plane hit. My wife was at school teaching. My eldest son had just begun his freshman year in college, eldest daughter had just started middle school, and the other daughters were in Kindergarten and Preschool. My wife called me, told me that the principal had come through, telling teachers about the first plane. I shrugged it off, thinking it was maybe a cessna that had engine/flight troubles that had accidentally hit the building. I mentioned it to a few coworkers, who guessed the same. We didn't turn on the TV until my wife called that second time, at about the same time as other spouses started calling coworkers, about the second plane. No one worked the rest of the day. We watched, as did our kids in school, we found out later, all day. Never will forget that day. Didn't find out until a week later that a childhood friend of mine who worked as a firefighter, went up shortly before the first collapse. He never came back.

    For the first time yesterday, I saw an interview with the two fighter pilots that were scrambled to try to intercept Flight 93 before passengers took it down. That one definitely hit me. They talked about how they scrambled so fast they didn't even have missiles loaded. They agreed between each other that one would ram the cockpit and another would ram the tail.

    And it's hard to believe there's still so much that we don't know. Especially we, the people. There's a lot the government knows, but won't release. We deserve to know.

    Though she has no independent recollection of her mother, Patricia Smith has spent 20 years missing and learning about her. Through stories imparted by relatives, family friends and Google searches, she has pieced her mom together like a shattered mirror reflecting an adventure-seeker who once ran with the bulls in Pamplona and swam across New York's Lake Placid.

    From a thin chain around Smith's neck dangles a pendant spelling out her mother's name in gold cursive letters. But a badge New York City Police Officer Moira Smith wore on that crisp late summer morning in lower Manhattan sits scratched and dented at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, testament to the only female among 23 NYPD officers killed in the surprise attack on the World Trade Center.

    "It's the only piece of jewelry of hers that I'll wear," Patricia Smith, now 21, said of the necklace. "I get so nervous that I'll lose something. I feel that I only have so many things of hers left that I want to keep all of it."

    Saturday marks the 20th anniversary of the most lethal attack in history on American soil, a commemoration of the 2,977 people killed when 19 terrorists from half a world away hijacked and turned four commercial aircraft into missiles that rained death on New York City, the Pentagon and a field in rural Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

    That day of terror brought about changes large and small such that it is difficult to find some part of American life that hasn’t been touched by the effects of Sept. 11, 2001. From ramped-up security at airports to the militarization of policing, to years-long wars and the very fabric of our country's personality and freedoms, the nation and world have been redefined by the events of 9/11.

    "When I talk about 9/11 to my students, I begin by explaining to them that it was really a life-changing event. It changed the way that our government works, its focus in terms of protecting the American people. It changed the way Americans live today," said former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, the dean of Belmont University Law School in Nashville, who was White House counsel to then-President George W. Bush on 9/11.

    "We obviously wanted Americans to live their lives as normally as possible, but to understand that we live and operate in a very dangerous world where there are people, there are organizations, there are groups that don't have very kind views about our way of life, about our values," Gonzales told ABC News.
    More than 70 million born in U.S. since 9/11


    More than 70 million people living in the United States, according to yearly birth data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, had not yet been born on 9/11. Millions more, like Patricia Smith, were too young to comprehend the destruction and the metamorphosis that followed.

    But some of those with vivid memories are still haunted by the epic intelligence failure that preceded the coordinated attacks. Others who answered their country's patriotic call to hunt down those responsible in the alleged al-Qaeda safe haven of Afghanistan now question if it was worth the sacrifice of more than 2,400 American soldiers.

    The war in Afghanistan spanned the administrations of four presidents and the eight-year Iraq War, only to end last month with the chaotic withdrawal of American troops and the deaths of 13 more military service members, four born the same year as 9/11. The Taliban, which controlled Afghanistan in 2001 and provided safe haven to al-Qaeda, is back in power, renewing fears the country will once again become a base for terrorism.

    Loren Crowe was a student at Columbia University on 9/11, joined the Army after graduating in 2005, and served two tours in Afghanistan that garnered him two Purple Hearts. Yet, he said he understands why many who served in combat question if it was worth the pain they witnessed on both sides of the wire. He said he can only hope his fellow platoon members who didn't make it back alive "died for something greater," and that he tries to see the positives through the bleak saga of Afghanistan.

    "Some folks got an education that they might not have gotten. Some folks had access to health care that they might not have gotten. Was it worth it in the grand scheme of things? You know, who knows?" Crowe told ABC News.

    "I think it's just desperately heartbreaking. And I think that more Americans should feel more shame about our lack of ability to provide a better future for them (the Afghans) over 20 years," Crowe said. "That's not any individual's fault. That's a large collective weight that I think probably we as a country need to carry."

    While it's been 10 years since Osama bin Laden, the founder of al-Qaeda, was gunned down by SEAL Team 6 in Abbottabad, Pakistan, no one has been convicted of helping him carry out the diabolical plot he mastermind, and only one has pleaded guilty and sentenced to life in prison.

    "Justice delayed is justice denied. And now we're 20 years later with no justice," Patricia Smith told ABC News on a recent visit to the memorial pools on the footprints of the twin towers, the 110-story buildings that took seven years to construct and less than two hours for terrorists to topple.
    Death rains from a crystal-clear sky


    When Officer Moira Smith departed her home on that fateful Tuesday and headed to the 13th Precinct in lower Manhattan, she kissed her 2-year-old daughter, Patricia, goodbye and left the toddler in the hands of her husband, Jim Smith, an officer working the night shift with the NYPD at the time. The father and daughter spent the morning watching Winnie the Pooh cartoons on a VCR unaware of the attack commencing.

    At 8:46 a.m., Smith heard a thunderous noise overhead, looked up into the clear blue sky, and saw a wide-body Boeing 767 swooping perilously close to the world's most famous skyline. American Airlines Flight 11 plowed into the north tower of the World Trade Center, vanishing in a fireball between the 93rd and 99th floors. Smith is believed to be the first cop to radio in the catastrophic incident, the biggest salvo in the nation's never-ending war on terrorism.

    Seventeen minutes later, a hijacked United Airlines Flight 175 crashed into the south tower.

    As the twin towers burned, a newspaper photographer snapped a shot of Smith leading a well-dressed man, his head bloodied, away from the disaster before she headed back to help others. Moira Smith's desperate last radio transmission came from inside the south tower: "I don't have much air. Help me, please," she said, according to a recording of the dispatch.
    Lots more in the link.

    Sort of a rambling thread but I'd like it to be part remembrance, part discussion about the classification of the 9/11 report and what exactly is still being hidden.

    Direct Saudi involvement? It seems that way - how else were all these guys who could barely speak english able to get vehicles and apartments and flight training and able to pull this off, without help from some powerful people. More forewarning that was ignored than what we already know about? Very likely IMO.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Gondwanaland View Post
    Hard to believe it's been 20 years. I remember I was at work when the first plane hit. My wife was at school teaching. My eldest son had just begun his freshman year in college, eldest daughter had just started middle school, and the other daughters were in Kindergarten and Preschool. My wife called me, told me that the principal had come through, telling teachers about the first plane. I shrugged it off, thinking it was maybe a cessna that had engine/flight troubles that had accidentally hit the building. I mentioned it to a few coworkers, who guessed the same. We didn't turn on the TV until my wife called that second time, at about the same time as other spouses started calling coworkers, about the second plane. No one worked the rest of the day. We watched, as did our kids in school, we found out later, all day. Never will forget that day. Didn't find out until a week later that a childhood friend of mine who worked as a firefighter, went up shortly before the first collapse. He never came back.

    For the first time yesterday, I saw an interview with the two fighter pilots that were scrambled to try to intercept Flight 93 before passengers took it down. That one definitely hit me. They talked about how they scrambled so fast they didn't even have missiles loaded. They agreed between each other that one would ram the cockpit and another would ram the tail.

    And it's hard to believe there's still so much that we don't know. Especially we, the people. There's a lot the government knows, but won't release. We deserve to know.

    Lots more in the link.

    Sort of a rambling thread but I'd like it to be part remembrance, part discussion about the classification of the 9/11 report and what exactly is still being hidden.

    Direct Saudi involvement? It seems that way - how else were all these guys who could barely speak english able to get vehicles and apartments and flight training and able to pull this off, without help from some powerful people. More forewarning that was ignored than what we already know about? Very likely IMO.
    I think most of us over a certain age remember where we were on that day. I was at my desk when a colleague came in and told me to retune my radio to a news channel.

    The other issue concerning the government behaviour on this is the shocking fact that many of those injured in that attack are still fighting to secure health benefits.

    This from 3 days ago https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/polit...cks/ar-AAOdOSO

    "It ain't necessarily so
    The things that you're liable
    To read in the Bible
    It ain't necessarily so
    ."

    Sportin' Life
    Porgy & Bess, DuBose Heyward, George & Ira Gershwin

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Hypatia_Alexandria View Post

      I think most of us over a certain age remember where we were on that day. I was at my desk when a colleague came in and told me to retune my radio to a news channel.

      The other issue concerning the government behaviour on this is the shocking fact that many of those injured in that attack are still fighting to secure health benefits.

      This from 3 days ago https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/polit...cks/ar-AAOdOSO
      Agreed, it's shameful that it took so long to even get the program set up for first responders and survivors, and even more so that they didn't even have the basic thought of making sure inflation was taken into account.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Gondwanaland View Post

        Agreed, it's shameful that it took so long to even get the program set up for first responders and survivors, and even more so that they didn't even have the basic thought of making sure inflation was taken into account.
        Here at least we can reach an agreement.
        "It ain't necessarily so
        The things that you're liable
        To read in the Bible
        It ain't necessarily so
        ."

        Sportin' Life
        Porgy & Bess, DuBose Heyward, George & Ira Gershwin

        Comment


        • #5
          I remember it like it was yesterday. We lost three family members from the church I was attending. The next morning I was in the parking of my shop and I heard jets, of course all planes were grounded - I look up and there are two F16s flying low and slow with wings loaded with missiles - I knew then, for sure, that we were at war... We were all waiting for the next attack...
          Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jbnueb2OI4o&t=3s

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by seer View Post
            I remember it like it was yesterday. We lost three family members from the church I was attending. The next morning I was in the parking of my shop and I heard jets, of course all planes were grounded - I look up and there are two F16s flying low and slow with wings loaded with missiles - I knew then, for sure, that we were at war... We were all waiting for the next attack...
            That is seared in my memory too. My flat mate, her friend, my daughter, and I were together in the lounge room with the TV on. I have no idea what we had been doing when the TV suddenly stopped whatever show had been playing and cut to a picture of a tall building with smoke issuing from it. There was about a five second delay before the audio cut in - so we had no idea what was happening at first. The visuals replay in my mind quite often when 9/11 is brought up.
            sigpic1 Cor 15:34 εκνηψατε δικαιως και μη αμαρτανετε αγνωσιαν γαρ θεου τινες εχουσιν προς εντροπην υμιν λεγω

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by tabibito View Post

              That is seared in my memory too. My flat mate, her friend, my daughter, and I were together in the lounge room with the TV on. I have no idea what we had been doing when the TV suddenly stopped whatever show had been playing and cut to a picture of a tall building with smoke issuing from it. There was about a five second delay before the audio cut in - so we had no idea what was happening at first. The visuals replay in my mind quite often when 9/11 is brought up.
              At first the news people said it was a small plane that accidentally hit the tower - then as we were all watching the second plane hit - we all knew- it was like a stomach punch - all those poor people.
              Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jbnueb2OI4o&t=3s

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by seer View Post

                At first the news people said it was a small plane that accidentally hit the tower - then as we were all watching the second plane hit - we all knew- it was like a stomach punch - all those poor people.
                I imagine that the news would have been more immediate in America than it was here. There was a replay of the events prior to the start of the broadcast a few minutes later, but they don't stand out in any detail for me.
                sigpic1 Cor 15:34 εκνηψατε δικαιως και μη αμαρτανετε αγνωσιαν γαρ θεου τινες εχουσιν προς εντροπην υμιν λεγω

                Comment


                • #9

                  I'm always still in trouble again

                  "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
                  "Overall I would rate the withdrawal from Afghanistan as by far the best thing Biden's done" --Starlight
                  "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Hypatia_Alexandria View Post

                    I think most of us over a certain age remember where we were on that day. I was at my desk when a colleague came in and told me to retune my radio to a news channel.

                    The other issue concerning the government behaviour on this is the shocking fact that many of those injured in that attack are still fighting to secure health benefits.

                    This from 3 days ago https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/polit...cks/ar-AAOdOSO
                    It's not in my nature to discuss 911 without bringing up the aftermath of that event, and the fact the reaction aftermath did more to take out freedoms away and trample our constitutional rights, as well as expand the power of government and the intelligence complex than any other event in the history of America. For some reason though that seems to offend folks, like to get the heart of the truth of an event you're somehow denigrating the victims. But since I can't help but get to the heart of the truth of an event, I normally just keep my mouth shut about 911.
                    "I was the CIA director. We lied, we cheated, we stole, it was like... we had entire training courses. It reminds you of the glory of the American experiment." - Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State (source).

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by seanD View Post

                      It's not in my nature to discuss 911 without bringing up the aftermath of that event, and the fact the reaction aftermath did more to take out freedoms away and trample our constitutional rights, as well as expand the power of government and the intelligence complex than any other event in the history of America. For some reason though that seems to offend folks, like to get the heart of the truth of an event you're somehow denigrating the victims. But since I can't help but get to the heart of the truth of an event, I normally just keep my mouth shut about 911.
                      100 percent agree. 9/11 is very important to remember, not just for the people lost that day, but the freedoms and rights we lost in the aftermath, to the government, that we gave away for a brief feeling of safety and 'unity'.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        My co-worker and I were outside on a survey project until lunch time. We got into my car, he turned on the radio to a music station at exactly 12:38 pm. There was a news reporter on and he started to turn to another station, I told him to stop: music stations aren't reporting news at that time unless there is some sort of breaking news. Then we heard it. By the time we got indoors, it was all over. No more towers, no more planes. The boss said we could take off the rest of the day.

                        But before that day, the talk was "Where were you when you learned that JFK was assassinated." I also remember that day clearly.

                        And I guess for the generation before me, "Where were you when you learned that Pearl Harbor was bombed?" There's hardly anybody still alive who would remember that day.
                        When I Survey....

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Faber View Post
                          My co-worker and I were outside on a survey project until lunch time. We got into my car, he turned on the radio to a music station at exactly 12:38 pm. There was a news reporter on and he started to turn to another station, I told him to stop: music stations aren't reporting news at that time unless there is some sort of breaking news. Then we heard it. By the time we got indoors, it was all over. No more towers, no more planes. The boss said we could take off the rest of the day.

                          But before that day, the talk was "Where were you when you learned that JFK was assassinated." I also remember that day clearly.

                          And I guess for the generation before me, "Where were you when you learned that Pearl Harbor was bombed?" There's hardly anybody still alive who would remember that day.
                          I use ice breaker questions in public speaking, and I used to use the "Where were you when Kennedy was shot"? Then there came the day I was speaking to a college group on Huntsville, Texas, and I asked that question, and they all stared at me blankly. One of them said, "we weren't even born yet".

                          Transitioned to "9-11" question and it dawned on me that we've reached that point in time when this won't work with College Students.

                          But all three of your examples are clearly "the world will never be the same" events.
                          The first to state his case seems right until another comes and cross-examines him.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            My wife and I had an argument the night before and I was sleeping in the guesthouse. She came pounding on the door saying we were at war, which was about 15 minutes after it all started. I was pretty groggy (Pacific Time Zone) and went in to work early. I worked at a local newspaper at the time and none of us did anything that day except watch the news. We filled the paper with AP stories, there was nothing local worth reporting on.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Gondwanaland View Post

                              100 percent agree. 9/11 is very important to remember, not just for the people lost that day, but the freedoms and rights we lost in the aftermath, to the government, that we gave away for a brief feeling of safety and 'unity'.
                              It's like a bookmark. I tend to think of life before and after 9/11. I was more idealistic before, and grown tainted afterward.

                              Comment

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