Never forget

(This year, instead of linking back to my own September 11 post, I’m going to give you the thoughts of Rich Grassi, as published in the September 10 edition of The Tactical Wire, (If you don’t subscribe, you should.) As the editor notes, this is the same piece that ran last year, and nothing has changed.)

Editor’s Notebook

by Rich Grassi

(In this space we are re-running the “Editor’s Notebook: The 9/11 Commemorative Edition, The Tactical Wire” that ran on the September 11, 2008 edition of the wire. We’ve seen nothing to lead us to believe that anything’s changed. In fact, there’s no evidence to indicate that anyone is any safer . . . read on and remember those we lost.)

At 8:45 AM EDT, September 11, 2001, American Airlines Flight 11, outbound from Boston, flew into the north tower of the World Trade Center. The building caught fire. A large hole was apparent in the news video, broadcast live.

On that day, I came up to the front desk from Detectives. The clerk told me that someone had flown a plane into one of the WTC buildings. A TV was on at the front desk.

“Idiot,” I thought. “Or maybe a private pilot had a heart attack.”

As I watched, at 8:03 CDT (9:03 Eastern), I saw United 175, also from Boston, fly into the south tower.

So much for idiots or medical emergencies.

Like most of the people in my home, the U.S. of A., I was in White. When I first noticed the event, I assumed that it was nothing more than a horrible accident. This was no accident.

Forty minutes later, American 77 hit the Pentagon.

“They’re trying to take out our military!” I heard someone say.

I understand how independent some military commanders can be. “It’ll take more than hitting the Pentagon,” I replied.

I saw the buildings collapse. We couldn’t see the fear and panic, not the heroism and bravery that was going on. We found out later that United 93, its passengers cognizant of what happened on the other flights, slammed into a field at nearly 600 MPH.

Those passengers and crew took a stand. They were the first warriors in the as-yet unnamed War on Terror. They were among our first casualties, totaling around 3,000 KIA.

The evening of that horrible day, at 8:30PM EDT, September 11, 2001, we heard the following broadcast:

“Good evening. Today, our fellow citizens, our way of life, our very freedom came under attack in a series of deliberate and deadly terrorist acts. The victims were in airplanes, or in their offices; secretaries, businessmen and women, military and federal workers; moms and dads, friends and neighbors. Thousands of lives were suddenly ended by evil, despicable acts of terror.

“The pictures of airplanes flying into buildings, fires burning, huge structures collapsing, have filled us with disbelief, terrible sadness, and a quiet, unyielding anger. These acts of mass murder were intended to frighten our nation into chaos and retreat. But they have failed; our country is strong.

“A great people has been moved to defend a great nation. Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America. These acts shattered steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve.

“America was targeted for attack because we’re the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world. And no one will keep that light from shining.

“Today, our nation saw evil, the very worst of human nature. And we responded with the best of America — with the daring of our rescue workers, with the caring for strangers and neighbors who came to give blood and help in any way they could . . . ”

George W. Bush

Since then, many men and women – military and contractors alike – have gone downrange. They take fire. Some come home, a number in various states of disrepair. Others never make it back.

There’s still work unfinished. A business acquaintance has as his signature on emails and forum posts: “Never forget those who died; Never forget who killed them.”

Stay ready. Keep your wits about you. Be armed.

Never forget.

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