Here it is, ten years after Islamic fanatics took over four planes and crashed them into the World Trade Center Towers, the Pentagon, and a field in Pennsylvania. We still remember and mourn those that were lost in such a savage and senseless act. Here’s how I remember that day [from Remembering 9/11]:
Sitting at my desk at another plant on assignment five years ago, I was finishing up some report when someone came in the office and announced that a plane had hit one of the World Trade Center buildings. I really didn’t think much of it at the time, and thought that some joy riding pilot in a Cessna got too close to one of the buildings, got caught in an updraft, and slammed into the building.
I finished up the report, and went out on the floor to check on the project’s progress, and I happened to see one of the TVs the company had set up for internal communications. Someone had put the feed from one of the national networks on the network, and I saw the WTC burning. I was stunned for two reasons – the first was that it was such a clear day, so how could someone accidentally hit one of the buildings. The second was that I just couldn’t understand how a small plane could cause so much damage. That’s when I saw the second plane hit…
Dumbfounded, I suddenly realized that the first plane was not a Cessna or other small plane, but a full-sized, passenger-carrying jet. I next understood that this was deliberate, because there was absolutely no way that two planes could hit the WTC buildings on the same clear day. Then there was the overwhelming sense of sadness, grief, hopelessness as the dawning of a new thought came to mind…
Terrorism, unlike anything that we have ever known, had come to America.
I watched, horrified along with the rest of the country, as the towers came down mere minutes from each other. I couldn’t understand that at the time – this was the last thing that I had expected. I had known that the Empire State Building had been struck by a B-25 bomber and had survived with minimal damage – why not a modern building? But that was not the case here – too big, too much fuel, too much heat – and the towers collapsed. And I wept openly as I watched the plumes of dust rise over the island of Manhattan.
Over the past ten years, we have seen the terrorists commit other horrendous acts of violence in this country as well as the rest of the world. Homegrown terrorist wannabes as well as committed jihadists have committed murder and mayhem if they were not discovered first.
However, many terrorist leaders responsible for 9/11 and other atrocities have been killed or captured, and in many respects, terrorist activities have been curtailed. Unfortunately, there is still various networks that are planning and plotting to cause mayhem and havoc to the innocent.
What is astounding to me is that there are still those that believe that the terrorists can be negotiated with. Tom Brokaw wrote in this Sunday’s Parade Magazine:
We’re still armed and on the ground in two Muslim nations where we’ve fought for much of the past 10 years, but we still have not extinguished the rage of extremists. We need to be more effective in promoting the American ideal without using guns or drones.
Mr. Brokaw, I agree with you. However, I’m also reminded of a conversation from a Batman movie between Bruce Wayne and Alfred:
Alfred Pennyworth: A long time ago, I was in Burma, my friends and I were working for the local government. They were trying to buy the loyalty of tribal leaders by bribing them with precious stones. But their caravans were being raided in a forest north of Rangoon by a bandit. So we went looking for the stones. But in six months, we never found anyone who traded with him. One day I saw a child playing with a ruby the size of a tangerine. The bandit had been throwing them away.
Bruce Wayne: Then why steal them?
Alfred Pennyworth: Because he thought it was good sport. Because some men aren’t looking for anything logical, like money. They can’t be bought, bullied, reasoned or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn.
“They can’t be bought, bullied, reasoned or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn.” Those last two lines, I believe, is the overriding reason why Islamic radicals and their terrorist brethren kill the innocents in the name of their religion to bring about their own version of heaven on earth. The “rage of the extremists” cannot be quenched because it is not rational, nor does it respect the lives of fellow human beings. This is why terrorists should not and cannot be negotiated with.
The civilized world is in a war that cannot and will not be won easily. The hardest thing to eliminate is an idea, even if that idea states that in order to enter heaven, innocents not of your faith must be killed, but if those people that are of your faith get in the way, then they are automatically martyrs for the cause. And that, my friends, is the last resort for people who have nothing to lose except their lives, and everything to gain in the next. This is madness, at least to my mind.
Today is a day of remembrance for those who have been victims, for those who have lost their lives in fighting this horror, and why the fight must continue on. Today needs to be a reason for us, the American people, to persevere in the face of those who wish us harm. We must be…
Tom’s Place remembers all the victims of 9/11, and offers this remembrance to one of the victims, Klaus Johannes Sprockamp.