Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Remembering 9-11

Some events sear a date into personal and collective memories.

Hurricanes Betsy and Camille striking New Orleans. President John F. Kennedy’s assassination. And the terrorist attacks on the United States Sept. 11, 2001. While most focus today on the twin towers of New York’s world Trade Center, let’s not forget that another plane crashed into the Pentagon and a fourth went down in a rural Pennsylvania field, averting a second strike on Washington, D.C., thanks to the courage of United Airlines Flight 93’s passengers.



That the planes were part of a terror attack wasn’t clear at first, but shortly thereafter the federal officials reached that conclusion. Local authorities in Los Alamos, N.M., reacted quickly, not certain of the scope of the attacks and wanting to protect the nation’s nuclear lab, closed access to the town.

I was in EspaƱola, N.M., working on a story for the Los Alamos Monitor, the local paper when my editor called to tell me the townsite, as it’s referred to locally on occasion, was sealed off. Don’t try to come to the office, she told me.

And so I stayed and watch the day’s horror unfold on TV.

Those attacks change the United States forever, and I am not sure for the better. They have led our country into a Vietnam with sand and camels for 12 years. The latest issue in Syria, promises to keep us engaged in Middle Eastern sectarian violence for a longer time than many of us wish.

I don’t know how broadly the Islam or Muslim view reflects the peacemakers or the terrorists. I try to keep an open mind. On this day, as others also reflect on a range of emotions of that day, I am going to reflect on the totality of what wrought 9-11 and what 9-11 wrought on us.

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