Seventeen Years Since September 11, 2001 a Day That Still Lives in Infamy.

K Gerard Thomas

On Tuesday morning September 11, 2001 seventeen years ago this week while getting ready for work I turned on the television as I often do in order to check the local weather and traffic report, which is a normal practice for commuting suburbanites who have to travel some twenty plus miles or more to work and back. I had no idea that this particular sunny day an event would take place that would forever change the lives of millions of Americans and the world for decades to come.

The national newscast was preempted by a live video feed from New York and what first seemed to be just a containable fire coming from a floor in the World Trade Center soon became a story about a possible small Cessna airplane that flew off course into one of the Twin Towers in Manhattan.  

Within minutes as journalistic assumptions about what happened were being discussed   a video footage showing a large (high jacked) passenger transcontinental air plane crashing into the north tower of the World Trade Center, the public later learned it was American Airline flight 11 caring 92 passengers of which there were no survivors.

While observing the live feed from New York a second plane crashed into the south tower... once I witnessed this tragic event, I knew right away, this was no accident, and my family and I were now witnessing in real time... one of the most horrific and heroic moments in our nations (ever changing) history. 

 The second plane was United flight 175 carrying over 60 passengers which crashed into the WTC south tower, two other flights were also hijacked on the same day, flight American Airlines flight 77 which was taken off route and hit the Pentagon in Arlington Virginia, and United Airlines flight 93 which was assumed to be in-route to land into the White House or the Capitol but landed in a field in Pennsylvania.  

Each September 11 we still mourn those nearly 3000 citizens whose lives were taken on that fateful morning, and we honor the thousands of service men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice defending our nation’s freedom as a result of our response to this tragic day.

For over almost two decades news stories shed some light on how 9/11 still is a tool of manipulation to further the political and bitter agenda of some.... and as we have seen there arose a violent agenda where those who can’t tell a Sikh from a Muslim have attacked them as well as others because of their ethnicity, style of dress or worship or form of worship. 

Today in our very own nation we still have the continued leftovers of the rhetoric of fear, anger and violence that permeates much of talk radio and cable news, this is being heralded by the Pandora box of perpetual war that was unleashed as a result of the 9/11 attacks.

 Before 9/11 America was not perfect we were still coping with the questionable presidential win of George W. Bush and still a little angry with Bill Clinton for his Lewinsky affair forcing his Republican enemies to impeach him.   

Even with all that division most American's never hated their fellow countrymen and woman in such a way that our politics kept us from communicating with each other or working to accomplish a greater good for the nation.

Something changed after a year or two of strong patriotism our fear of the unknown caused us to look at each other with suspicion almost like going back to 1859 our nation started to divide. 

After it was later learned that the Bush administration was dishonest in how they pushed for war with Iraq who were not a friend of the Taliban or Al-Qadea, Americans began to distrust the government even more. 

Out of frustration our leaders over saw the torture of men and women to gather intelligence on Osama Bin Laden whereabouts.  Attacking innocent citizens for being supporters of terrorism if they did not agree with the administration's very questionable war this went against our American values and international law.

There were vile bitter attacks that started to become a norm and by 2004 entertainers like the Dixie Chicks were receiving death threats for questioning the war, there are those who despise our nations freedoms while (at the same time) using religion to fan the flames of division in their own nation.

Patriot’s Day

Some will use this solemn day of remembrance to offer service to others donating their time and skills, such as helping in a shelter for the less fortunate, assisting in building homes, donating or serving food at a food bank, giving monetary assistance to a charity or church outreach program.

This week rather than focusing on the negatives of those who have used 9/11 for their personal agenda, I choose to offer a narrative of respect and honor to the lives of those lost and to my country as a whole.

Billy Graham in one of his last national appearances with a sitting president stated “We come together today to reaffirm our conviction that God cares for us, whatever our ethnic, religious or political back ground may be." 

Like many Americans I was worried that this was not the end of attacks. I was raised with a strong faith in God’s sovereign ability to watch over our nation, knowing we as Americans would have to rely on each other and Gods mercy to get us through this painful moment for years to come. 

Now we are facing another 9/11 and the Pandora’s box of demons are still moving about and causing havoc to our democracy and the only way it can change is for “We the People assure our future is secure by obstructing hate, divisiveness, tribalism, lying to remain in power, but respecting and appealing to the “Better Angels of Our Nature.”   

To all of our First Responders Police, Firemen, Safety Officers, Paramedics, and much more...May God Bless you the 9/11 Families, the men and women of the Armed Services and their families, our President, Congress, and finally May God Bless the United States of America.

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