Three years ago, one of the most tragic events in our countries history occurred. Some think that it is the most tragic, but most forget about the genocide our forefathers committed against the Native American tribes of this land. On this morning, three years ago, I was awoke by a phone call from my roommate Eric. I was living in Clifton, NJ at the time. Eric was 14 short city blocks from the World Trade Center. Eric told me to "turn on the news, a plane has hit the World Trade Center." As I turned on the TV, Eric and I discussed the possibility of a little piper plane hitting the tower. "It's probably just a pilot who had a heart attack.", I said. Just one minute after my TV tuned in to CNN, and one minute after my "heart attack" comment, both Eric and I heard the roar of the second jumbo jet over his head. Three seconds later, I saw the second jet hit the second tower. I told Eric to, "flee the city, and flee it now!!" One of my first thoughts was that I had friends that worked in that building. A lot of friends.
One of those friends was, a man named Jeff. He worked for Morgan Stanley. I was to find out days later that he put his life in even more harms way then it already was. There was a few handicap individuals who could not get out. Their wheelchair's, obviously could not wheel down the many stories of stairs that where ahead. Jeff grabbed a lady he did not know, slung her over his shoulder and proceeded down forty flights of stairs to safety. He did what others did not do. He added the weight of that ladies life to his shoulders and carried her to safety. Others just ran franticly past these helpless individuals, and it is still on his mind what happened to the rest of those people. Jeff is a hero. He has never received accolades for that event, probably never will. My friend is alive and he is a hero.
We all watched the surreal vision of the towers as they crumbled like building blocks to the city streets below. What most of America did not experience, I did though. I could see the plumes of smoke from my window. My house rattled every time an F-16 fighter jet roared overhead, sent too late to help 3300 people who just went to work that morning. The F-16's continued for weeks on end. The winds in this part of the country follow the jet stream from west to east. Sometimes that direction changes from east to west. When it did, over the weeks to come, you could literally smell the death. The rigormortis was pungent and foul. I received a postcard from the post office asking me to open my mail outside, to ensure less chance of contamination if there was any Anthrax in my mail. Everyone hates to get their bills, but now I really hated it. Going everywhere looked a lot like the Gaza strip minus the desert. Armed troops guarded every bridge and tunnel and major roadway in the Tri-state area. Random stops of vehicles to check your cargo were performed and created a lot more traffic then even NY and NJ were accustomed to.
At the time, I worked for an Audio Post Production house that did books on tape and CD, for Simon and Schuster. What I happened to be working on at the time was a book called "Germs: Biological Weapons and America's Secret War". The book was written by Judith Miller, who worked for Tom Brokaw. While I was editing this book, Judith Miller received an Anthrax laden letter at her office. She was still sending out audio changes and script changes to us at this same time. I had to open her packages and hope I wasn't going to die. What a way to earn a paycheck. This is when I decided to move back to NC. Everything was a little too close for comfort in the NYC area.
Where as America as a whole feels the effects of 9/11/01, no one knows what it was like unless they lived in the areas that were hit. I now live in Greensboro, NC, right in the landing path for the airport. Every time a large plane flys overhead, it is a little bit different then it was before. What if?
I found out later that the hijackers had all lived in a house, a house that was three blocks south and three blocks east of where I lived at. I could walk there. I probably shopped at the same grocery stores or held a door open for one of them, being polite as usual. They lived in my neighborhood, and I did not even know.
I have never visited Ground Zero. The psychological damage from seeing the events of 9/11 prevents me from doing so, and I did not lose anyone, to my knowledge, in that tragic event. I drove by one time, on the way to CBGB's to see a friend play. Seeing the fire houses covered with memorials, I had no choice but to cry uncontrollably. I don't think I could ever go to Ground Zero and stand where two buildings, that have always stood for NYC and America, once stood.
Three years later. The terrorist have won. The definition of a terrorist is, one who controls you with fear. We live in fear. That they have done. Our response was less then it should have been. There were more police in NYC for the Republican National Convention 2004, then we sent troops to Afghanistan. Instead, we chose Iraq to go after. I think we went to Iraq because Saddam had a hit out on Bush Sr. Bush Jr. just hated the man that threatened his daddy. To this day our government still can not make a connection between Iraq an Al Qaeda. We still can not find Osama or his chief deputy. We still have young American soldiers die in Iraq daily. All we had to show the terrorist was that they could get away with it. The mighty United States of America is not so mighty any more.
For those of you who disagree with me, wait until the next strike and then come talk to me. For those of you who don't think there will be a next strike, keep pretending. These people want George Bush's head on a platter and they won't stop until it is.
For those of you who think it could not be avoided, my Uncle Mike once asked, "What would happen if an American commercial flight drifted into China's airspace?" The answer is, they would scramble Mig fighter jets, attempt to make contact, ask the flight to leave their airspace, and then shoot them down if there was no response. That would occur in under three minutes and it has occurred before. I can only hope that there were major answers to defending our national security in "My Pet Goat". George Bush spent seven minutes reading with the kids instead of scrambling planes. Something the Chinese could have done twice in that time period.
On this day, my thoughts are with the families of the 3300+ people who died on 9/11/01. I often wonder what they have to think about George Bush's response or lack there of. May their loved ones rest in peace. Some how I don't think that they will. That is, until George W. Bush, the man that allowed this to happen, is out of office.