Thursday, September 17, 2020
Wednesday, September 16, 2020
Friday, September 11, 2020
Despite President George W. Bush's persistent entreaties to return to the White House on the morning of September 11th 2001, the Secret Service would not permit the Commander in Chief to return to Washington for fear that he might be a target. There was chatter about "Angel" (which is the code word for the Air Force One) being next.
So after departing Sarasota, Air Force One flew to Barksdale Air Force Base, in Shreveport, Louisiana.
Air Force One's pilot Col Mark Tillman, wanted to make sure that the aircraft had a full tank of fuel as it was unsure where the President would go next. A civilian argued that 14 hours of fuel was only for a time a war, but a Air Force Master Sergeant, impressed upon the crew that we are in a time of war.
A dozen years ago, two planes were hijacked by jihadist terrorists under the direction of Osama bin Laden and they were deliberately flown into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. Within two hours, both towers fell, killing 2,118 civilians in the building, 147 crew and passengers from American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175 along with 11 hijackers.
Here is raw footage with raw sound from that chaotic day in lower Manhattan--
New York City chose to memorialize all of the innocent dead by creating a park with two waterfalls in the footprints of the Twin Towers, building a 1,176 foot high One World Trade Center (originally designated the Freedom Tower) and a$600 Million museum to memorialize the horrific day.
There has been some controversy concerning the 9/11 memorials at Ground Zero in NYC. It took over a decade to erect a new building which was meant to show American resolve. The signature new World Trade Center building legally changed its name from the 102 story $3.1 Billion Freedom Tower to accommodate a 21 year lease with Vantone, a Chinese commercial realty company. The 9/11 museum drew fire for featuring the jihadist hijackers "for the historical narrative". Some have complained that political correctness has gone made at Ground Zero erasing anything heroic, patriotic or influencing the narrative. Atheists even tried to exclude a cross formed by two steel beams in the WTC collapse that gave many Ground Zero rescue workers solace, but fortunately courts denied this claim.
On September 11th 2001 at 9:37 a.m., American Airlines Flight 77 flew into a first floor western facing wall of the Pentagon. The crash killing 125 people on the ground (including 55 civilians) 53 passengers, six crew and five jihadist hijackers
|Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld (third from right) assists with the injured at the Pentagon 9/11/2001|
United Airlines Flight 93, the Newark to San Francisco scheduled flight with a crew of seven and 33 passengers was hijacked by four jihadist terrorists.
The passengers revolted against the hijackers after learning of the other hijackings. Flight 93 crashed in rural Somerset County, Pennsylvania. It was believed that had the jihadist hijackers prevailed, the plane was headed to crash into the US Capitol. But in 2009 a high ranking al Qaeda detainee revealed that Flight 93's specific target was White House. Whatever the case, these heroic passengers were first conscious US combatants in the War on Terrorism.
There was some controversy with the original design of the Flight 93 memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The memorial originally was supposed to include 40 groves of red maple trees shaped like a crescent. To quiet the debate, the 93 foot Tower of Voices has 40 wind chimes and a grove of 40 red maple trees which circle the walkway, following the bowl shape of the former surface mine.
As time has passed, the September 11th 2001 attack could fall into the recesses of memory for many Americans directly untouched by the fanatical atrocity. May we always remember the 9/11 victims and never forget the American virtues which made US a target of those wishing to establish a world-wide Caliphate.
Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain was a Union General who was awarded a Medal of Honor for his gallantry during the Battle of Gettysburg. Gen. Chamberlain's profound invocation of a Civil War cemetery in 1889 gave solace to a Russ Kleat, a soulful First Responder at Ground Zero after the 9/11 Islamist terror attack on the World Trade Center.
It is easier to mourn the loss of 2606 lives lost in an instant as the Twin Towers imploded. But there are many First Responders who made it out alive but who have been mentally scarred and physically impaired by their dedicated service.
It seems just that the New York Fire Department has been gradually adding names to the 9/11 Memorial Wall of First Responders who have fallen due to illnesses related to their efforts after 9/11.
The valiance of the 9/11 First Responders gives new poignancy to Gen. Chamberlain's invocation. I will think of the line "the mystery of grace" now whenever I see photos of the Tower of Lights remembering 9/11 victims.
As the world looks back on the atrocities of September 11th 2001, we forget that it was a different world. In Farenheit 911 (2004), Michael Moore mocked how President George W. Bush continued to read "My Pet Goat" to a group of schoolchildren in Sarasota, Florida as the Twin Towers burned. But a Politico magazine article of oral histories of 9/11 points out how scant communications were that day. Cellular technology was not as prevalent and it was challenging to get media while out of pocket.
President Bush went about the pre-planned No Child Left Behind event when his Chief of Staff Andy Card whispered in his ear about the second plane crashing. President Bush remained calm and continued reading, knowing that he could do nothing immediately with imperfect information.