NOTE: Due to the severe weather from TS Nicholas expected today for those of us on the Gulf Coast, some of you may not have access to the Internet and, thus, this blog post. Nevertheless, I wanted to post this special blog today, Tuesday, the day some twenty years ago that “9/11” took place. Once Nicholas passes and some normalcy (and power) is restored, I hope you’ll take a moment to read this latest entry into Joe’s Journey.
This post is a remembrance of an essay I wrote 20 years ago right after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. I had so many thoughts and feelings then that I had to “write it out of me” or at least try to capture what I felt at the time.
Madness. The word itself hardly seems to even come close to describe what has happened to America. What may appear to be a disease by some is for others a way of life.
The English language does not contain enough descriptive phrases to do justice to what took place this past Tuesday, September 11, 2001. Some have equated the terror to what Japan did in their surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. Others feel that Japan’s attack does not even come close to the horror wreaked upon the American psyche in this the 21st Century.
Like many Americans last week, I gazed into television screens almost everywhere I went. I looked upon horror and destruction in stunned amazement. I was numb. I am numb. I can not believe what I have heard, seen and still read about. It is absolutely unconscionable to me that other human beings would perform this type of horror. It also scares the hell out of me that these kind of people do, in fact, perform these acts of terror and not think anything of it.
A lovely, calm morning in autumn with beautiful blue sky all around serves as a backdrop to one of the most picturesque skylines in all the world. The Twin Towers of the World Trade Center standing tall. Standing proud.
Unbelievably, our world is rocked beyond comprehension when an unannounced commercial airliner slams into the side of the North Tower. This, we find out later, is no accident. If this was not enough to test New York’s mental mettle, let alone America’s, a second commercial airliner flies into the South Tower of the Trade Center.
Flames spew. Balls of fire erupt. Twin towers ablaze with smoke. My God, this is real. This is not Hollywood. Yet, it is so surreal to me.
Time and again I see in utter amazement the different angles of the planes flying into the buildings and erupting in flames. Lives lost. God help us all.
Why am I writing this? I guess it’s medicinal in some respect. I feel like most Americans a need to try and put this horror into some kind of perspective. But how can one think in rational terms about totally irrational acts? Simple: one can’t.
Is this a wake up call for America? In many ways it is. Terrorism, unfortunately, will probably always be with us in some form of perverted fashion. Wherever there is a disturbed mind to attract money and followers to perform unspeakable acts against mankind, there will be terror in our lands.
Society must deal with horror and terrorists. We must so that order and normalcy will be restored. However, society itself must change. How? The jury may be out on that for some time.
As terrified a sight as the Twin Towers engulfed in flames, what would we feel or think if Lady Liberty would have been hit and destroyed? Our symbol of Freedom, herself.
They hit the Pentagon. They may have been headed to the White House and Capitol. What about Air Force One? A flying target of power.
Thoughts and questions like these and others are crossing minds at warp speed everyday. At least mine. As often as I see television reports on the tragedy and read newspaper accounts of it all, I still find everything somewhat of a blur. It’s still almost incomprehensible to me that this type of terror can be inflicted on the most powerful and resourceful nation this world has known.
As one day turns into two and then into five, one can hardly get a grip on what is happening with recovery efforts in New York, the Pentagon, and outside Pittsburgh without being distracted about what else may be going on with other so-called cells of terrorists.
I hear that people are not flying at all now or far fewer folks want to fly the friendly skies because of uncertainty about the friendliness of those skies. We’re still frightened. Hell, we’re still numb and unnerved. We used to take for granted so many things when it comes to travel. Now, everything has changed. The rules are being rewritten as we speak. The price we must pay for Freedom and Liberty – again?
In this country, we pride ourselves on democracy and freedom of choice. Other nations not enjoying this way of life are jealous and bitter that they don’t have the type of life that America boasts. I fear that society will always have extremists among us, and people who are not in a right frame of mind.
Every so often, it seems, these people and their misguided mindset collide with society’s norms and tragedy strikes. Terror and evil play as if there is no tomorrow. For them, tomorrow will dawn with other “brethren” ready to continue the fight. We dawn with tomorrow as well, but to bury our dead and grieve and mourn.
The fight will continue. Our cause, humanity, is just. We will not rest. We can not. Our future generations depend on us as we have depended on our forefathers in paving justice and some form of normalcy in which to live and enjoy what God has wrought.
The planes. The planes.
Madness. Mankind grieves.
The horror. The horror.
©2001, J. Fournet
Hopefully making a ruckus, one blog post at a time!
Be sure to check out my other blog, Ideasnmoreblog, for a different kind of playground for creativity, innovation and inspiring stuff.