Here are, in chronological order, some columns that focus on the 9/11 tragedy.
In case we ever forget.
It’s been four years since the barbarians from the East showed us their asses and did the cowardly deeds that resulted in a changed world for all. There are 1,152 victims of the world trade center bombing whose remains have never been found. Now on the roof of the building next door at 130 Liberty Street, the former Deutsche Bank building, workers who are getting set to tear down the structure have found what have been positively identified as human bone fragments. 10 small pieces of bone ranging from half and inch to about two inches, some perhaps from a rib cage have been turned over to the medical examiners office.
The fragments are large enough and in such condition that the medical examiners are confident they can extract DNA samples and may be able to get some profiles.
The building’s roof was 800 feet under the south tower and was wrecked by debris from the collapse and even though it is still standing it has never been reopened.
1,152 people would fit into the Kirby center comfortably.
In case we ever forget.
I read something the other day that stopped me in my tracks. It was in the newspaper. In just a few short words the writer summed up a feeling I have had for years. 16 words that describe the human condition as succinctly as almost any I have heard.
As you make your way along this path you often see moments where the only explanation is that there must be a higher power of some sort watching over us. I am not a particularly religious man but when I see puppies, a new born baby or a pair of geese tending to their little yellow flock of hatchlings I believe in something. It also seems like there are times when the cup of human kindness does overflow. You see moments where people do treat each other in civil ways and even heroic ways in moments where it’s really called for.
There are of course always the darker moments of the soul, where pure evil is done, sometimes it seems just for evils sake.
The trial of the one man we have selected as the mastermind for the 9/11 has just concluded and his sentence is to live the rest of his days in a solitary existence. It’s said by some that his days are numbered. I hope that’s not true and that he lives long enough to suffer daily for his abominations to mankind.
Most days we all sort of plod along, living from moment to moment trying to stay out harms way and from doing harm to others. It seems like the very work of existing is enough.
But in the laughter of a child, in the sight of a newborn colt galloping across a newly mowed pasture or a field of wildflowers waving in a spring breeze the hint of something more is there.
Oh, the words that stopped me? 16 of them. Here they are.
A love of humanity gleams most brightly in places where it is conspicuous in it’s absence.
Think about that the next time you’re in a cancer patient’s room, or a church at a funeral or a graveyard.
3017. 2191. Two numbers. Here’s three more. 9/11. It’s been 2191 days since that day in 2001 when the world changed. This is the sixth anniversary and it’s the first time
that it has actually fallen on a Tuesday. 3017 is the number who died that day. That number includes 24 people who have never been accounted for and the nineteen terrorists who helped steer the planes into the World Trade Center, The Pentagon and into the field in Shanksville.
A recent headline reads “As 9/11 nears, a debate rises: How much tribute is enough?” It makes my blood boil to read that. How do you forget the 246 people on the four planes? The dead included 8 children: The youngest victim was a 2 year-old child on Flight 175. A child with its entire life ahead of it snuffed out in an unimaginable moment of terror in the blinding hell of the crash. How do you forget the 1366 that perished in the World Trade Center Tower one or the 600 who died instantly in Tower two.
You have probably heard the tapes of those office workers in the Trade centers. I have and I can’t forget that. Do we not think anymore about the 200 who jumped from the burning buildings? How much fear and terror does it take to make the very thought of jumping out of a window a quarter of a mile in the sky seem like an alternative? The 125 who died in the Pentagon? We just write them off? How about the 343 New York City Fire Department firefighters, 23 New York City Police Department officers, and 37 Port Authority Police Department officers who gave up their lives to try and save others?
Has it been long enough that we forget about that? Do we forget that Osama Bin Laden in a video shortly after 9/11 said that this was Holy War and that his objective was in his words “to bleed America”? And that piece of human excrement still walks and talks and breathes while so many died and continue to die as a result. I can’t and won’t forget. I didn’t know a single person who died 2191 days ago. Not personally. But I still can’t forget them. And I pray and hope that I never do.
Seven years have passed.
2993 died that day, including the 19 soulless terrorists.
Nearly 30 million babies have been born in the US since then.
15 million marriages.
About 7 million divorces.
In other words a lot of life has happened since that day.
And a lot more death.
16 million have joined those whose lives flashed brightly and were extinguished.
Over 100,000 US soldiers have died; over 30,000 have been wounded since then.
Do you remember what you were doing, who you were with, how you felt that day?
The stages of grief are:
Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance.
I am not ashamed to admit that my first feeling as I watched the plane auger in to the Pentagon (the PENTAGON for God’s sake) was fear.
I was pretty sure it was game over for the human race.
I am told you can go back and forth between these feelings.
I have felt most of them. I know that this country has too.
Anger led this country to a war in Iraq.
Over 100,000 US soldiers have died, over 30,000 have been wounded there.
I have no acceptance of those facts any more than I can accept the idea that we have done NOTHING in these seven years to truly stop this from happening again.
Taking our shoes off before boarding planes and not carrying nail clippers?
The ones who masterminded 911 laugh till they can’t breath.
But life goes on. Marriages, births divorces and death don’t stop.
This is a Presidential election year.
Politics certainly doesn’t stop.
And war doesn’t either.
In my lifetime it’s been the only real consistent fact of life that you can always count on. Somewhere in the world, US soldiers are fighting. Being wounded. Dieing.
Over 100,000 US soldiers have died; over 30,000 have been wounded in Iraq.
That’s 130,000 lives that have been changed forever, not for better.
My day to day life hasn’t changed all that much in seven years. On the outside.
But inside I must confess I still have this feeling of unease. The feeling that something is not quite right. A head-shrinker would call it free-floating anxiety.
The land of the free and the home of the brave lost something seven years ago.
Our innocence? Our security? Our swagger?
I am not sure. But I know it’s gone, whatever it was.
And it will be a long time before it comes back.