“One year like any old other year
In a week like any week
Monday lying down
People doing what people do
Loving, working and getting through
No portraits on the walls
Of Seventh Avenue”
-lyrics to “Tuesday” by Five for Fighting
In a couple of days, we’ll mark another anniversary of the terrorist attacks in New York, Virginia and Pennsylvania that took the lives of nearly 3,000 people. It’s also the first anniversary of the attack on our embassy in Benghazi that left our ambassador there dead, along with three brave Americans. That second incident could never have happened, I’m afraid, without some amount of forgetting about the first one by some people in very high places. It appears now we may be on the eve of yet another war…this time, though, our brave soldiers will be sent to Syria to fight on the side of the people who took down those two massive towers—and left the lives of thousands changed forever.
Sure, we’re being told that this isn’t going to war, necessarily- just some very precise strikes at certain locations. Does anyone really believe this? Given the record of this president and his cohorts, how can we ever trust what they say? These are the same people who blamed the Benghazi attack on a poorly-made You Tube movie by some guy no one ever heard of (who only recently got out of jail on supposedly “unrelated charges”).
They’re the same people who, to this day, refer to the deadly shootings at Fort Hood in 2009, as an incident of “workplace violence” instead of calling it what it really was. Just for future reference, Mr. President and Mr. Eric Holder: when someone shouts “Allahu Akbar” (“Allah is greater”) while shooting American soldiers—or while flying planes full of people into buildings full of people—he or she is in full jihadi mode. It’s called a terrorist attack.
They also ignored warnings from Russian intelligence about the two brothers who executed a successful attack at the Boston Marathon earlier this year where 3 people died and hundreds more sustained life-altering injuries. At least that one they did see fit to call an act of terrorism, even though they had proclaimed last year that the War on Terror was officially over. In fact, when Obama became president, he didn’t even want the phrase to be a part of the government’s lexicon, preferring to call the War on Terror an “overseas contingency operation”. Political correctness gone wild.
Since then, he’s tried to fight multiple wars the PC way, by letting the enemy know in advance when we’ll be leaving the area, not even calling those who want to kill us “enemies” (or acknowledging that there are people who want to kill us), and neither defining nor desiring victory. Only a horse’s behind could concoct such a motto as “Lead from behind.”
The words from the song noted above were written by John Ondrasik of Five for Fighting. He captures very well the mindset of Monday, September 10, 2001. I wouldn’t say we were a nation of innocence and naiveté back then, but compared to what happened on Tuesday and in the years since, it pretty much was an innocent time.
Maybe we’ve forgotten that there was once a time when people who took you to the airport or picked you up could actually go right up to the gate. Or that getting on a plane didn’t involve removing any articles of clothing or being touched by a total stranger. The Constitution of the United States has taken a brutal beating over the past twelve years (even before Obama) to the point that the Founding Fathers wouldn’t recognize it or the nation that still claims to be governed by it.
It’s easy and maybe even convenient for those of us who didn’t lose a loved one, either on 9/11/01 or 9/11/12 to allow our memories of these days to fade, only to look back once a year when we’re sure to see some retrospective on a cable news channel.
But for those who lost someone, they live with the results of terrorism every day. They’d probably give anything for it to be Monday, September 10th again, just to have one last chance to see, talk to or hug the one they lost. Many of us haven’t forgotten them, but I’m not so sure about our “leaders”. It took less than a dozen years to go from Never Forget…to Try to Remember.
“The thing about memories
They’re sure and bound to fade
Except for the stolen souls
Left upon her blade
Is Monday coming back?
That’s what Mondays do”
***NOTE: You can listen to “Tuesday” by Five for Fighting HERE. And watch my video tribute to the victims of 9/11/01 by clicking the “Remembering 9/11/01” photo that is always linked from this page.
If the news that the National Security Administration is spying on all of us didn’t burn you up this summer, maybe this will get your attention. The Department of Defense released a training document (thanks to the efforts of Judicial Watch) that teaches our military men and women how to recognize extremists in and outside of the Armed Forces.
What’s wrong with that? Nothing…until you start to read the document. To begin, it relies heavily on information provided by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a far-left organization that defines any group or individual that disagrees with them as extremists. Conservative organizations such as the Family Research Council and the American Family Association are lumped in with true extremists and hate-mongers like the skinheads as far as the SPLC is concerned. In fact, in August of 2012, when the headquarters of the Family Research Council was attacked by a lone gunman, he later admitted that he targeted the employees of that organization because he saw it listed on the SPLC’s website for being “anti-gay”. As you can see, the SPLC has some radical supporters of its own.
In the DoD’s training document, it gives examples of what it calls “extremist ideologies and movements” and gives two examples from history: “ The colonists who sought to free themselves from British rule and the Confederate states who sought to secede from the Northern states are just two examples.”(page 43). The document gets even broader in what it defines as extremist: “Nowadays, instead of dressing in sheets or publicly espousing hate messages, many extremists will talk of individual liberties, states’ rights, and how to make the world a better place.” (page 45). (The last thing we need are more people who want to make the world a better place!)
This is why leftists routinely say that anyone who speaks of freedom, liberty or states’ rights is speaking “code words” to hide their racist beliefs. When the training manual describes the ultimate racist group, the Ku Klux Klan and gives its history, it mentions that it was a Christian organization, yet doesn’t mention that it was started by white Democrats. It lists September 11, 2001 as an “historical event” tied to al-Qaeda, but neglects to mention who al-Qaeda is: followers of Islamic sharia law.
Speaking of al-Qaeda, a separate document released by the Pentagon was obtained by the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty within days of the first document that Judicial Watch had found. This second document goes so far as to link Evangelical Christianity and Catholicism with the same religious extremism as al-Qaeda and Hamas!
It’s plain to see what Obama’s Department of Defense thinks of conservatives, people who talk about personal liberty and religious people (namely, Catholics and Evangelicals). In fact, it seems to be a pattern throughout the administration: the IRS giving extra scrutiny to conservative and pro-life groups; the Obamacare mandate forcing employers to pay for birth control, even those opposed to it for religious reasons; the hostility shown to military members who wish to share their faith—the list grows with each passing day.
One more thing about that document: it lists several personality traits or tendencies of extremists that sound all-too-familiar. Some of the traits are: character assassination, name calling and labeling, the use of sweeping generalizations, use of slogans and buzzwords and assumption of moral superiority over others. Sounds to me like the Obama 2012 election campaign strategy.
My favorite was the last extremist tendency: the advocacy of double standards: “Extremists generally tend to judge themselves or their interest group in terms of their intentions, which they tend to view generously, and their critics and opponents by their acts, which they tend to view very critically. They would like you to accept their assertions on faith, but they demand proof for yours”.
Now that sounds like Al Gore.
On another Tuesday morning eleven years ago today, the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center cast their final shadows over the neighboring buildings in lower Manhattan. Before noon that day, the shadows would be gone, and so were the towers. The world– and the New York City skyline– had changed forever.
One small, unassuming building that miraculously escaped the effects of the collapse of the towers and the resulting hurricane of debris and humanity was St. Paul’s Chapel. As the oldest continuous-use public building in New York City, it survived the burning of New York in September 1776 when the British re-took the city from the Continental army. Back then, St. Paul’s was saved by a bucket brigade. Flash forward to 2001, and it was saved by a 100-year-old sycamore tree that bore the brunt of the towers’ collapse, shielding the small building as if Divine Providence were saving it for a special purpose.
Within days of the terrorist attacks in 2001, St. Paul’s became a place of refuge for the rescuers. Due to its close proximity to Ground Zero, rescue and recovery workers would make their way to the chapel where they found a hot meal, massage therapists to soothe their aching muscles, and people to pray with them and for them to soothe their aching souls. Some would just come to rest or sleep in the pews after long hours of working in “the pit” that was Ground Zero. One police officer called St. Paul’s an “oasis of heaven in the midst of hell.”
Volunteers from all faiths and walks of life came from around the country to help the helpers. This ministry to the workers at Ground Zero continued for several months until the recovery work officially ended in May 2002.
This wasn’t the first time in its history that St. Paul’s filled an important role as a place for reflection and worship for citizens and leaders following a traumatic time. Another American hero made his way to the doors of the chapel on a day long before 9-11. Before attending a service of thanksgiving at St. Paul’s in April 1789, President George Washington was inaugurated just a short walk away from the chapel in Federal Hall (on Wall Street). At that time, the nation’s capital was New York City. Having just come through the war for our independence, the young nation and its citizens were in need of direction and an uplifting sentiment from their new leader (much like the days following the attacks). In his inaugural address, Washington stated:
“No People can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand, which conducts the Affairs of men more than the People of the United States. Every step, by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation, seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency.”
The same could be said of the little chapel that survived the fall of the Twin Towers. Today, St. Paul’s Chapel remains, as always, a place of worship, but also serves as sort of a mini-museum to where the events of September 11, 2001 can be remembered and reflected upon by all who visit there. Several exhibits memorialize those who perished, and pay tribute to the brave police officers, firemen and other first-responders who put themselves in harm’s way in order to save others.
In yesterdays post, I linked to some rather disturbing audio of two victims of the attack on the World Trade Center nine years ago during their last moments on earth. I also posted a picture that’s come to be known as “The Falling Man”, depicting one of those many WTC victims who choose to exit the building on their own terms rather than wait for the fate that they knew was coming. The photographer behind The Falling Man, Richard Drew, was initially criticized for snapping that one second in The Falling Man’s life as he was approaching his death. Newspapers were also under fire for running the photo, so therefore it ran only once in most papers here in the United States. I never came across it myself until a year ago, and found it shocking and disturbing. Even so, I see it as another memorial to those who died, much like the memorial wall above at Ground Zero. The photo above was taken on my last visit there in July 2006, so I don’t know whether or not it still stands. The construction of a permanent memorial and towers is still a work in progress, as is the memorial in Shanksville, PA for the passengers and crew of Flight 93. To the best of my knowledge, the memorial to the Pentagon victims is the only one that’s been completed. These things take time, I suppose, but it’s important that they get done. Memorials serve not just to pay tribute to those who passed away, but they’re important for the living. As September 11, 2001 gets further and further in the past, we need to be reminded, at least once a year of what happened and what those people went through. Not just the people whose last dramatic moments were caught on film or audio tape, but everybody who was lost: the rescue workers, who walked up into the towers, as others were going down towards safety—and life. The passengers on the 3 flights that flew into the towers and into the Pentagon who never knew what was happening. The passengers on Flight 93 who did know, and decided to do something about it. The workers at the Pentagon who were taken in an instant as they sat at their desks… and those people who’ve since passed away from illnesses caused by working among the debris at Ground Zero. All of these deserve to be remembered, today and always.
**Note: The images and audio linked in this post will be upsetting. They’re not meant to be sensational or disrespectful, only to help all of us to never forget.**
Tomorrow marks the 9th anniversary of the worst terrorist attack on American soil. A year ago, I started this blog with the posting “Things to Remember on 9-11”. In the years since that horrible day, much has been written about, spoken of, argued over, etc. when it comes to the events of September 11, 2001 and why they happened. Sometimes it seems that the real people that were affected—those whose lives were lost and the people who love them—get brushed to the side. Even now, images of the attack come along less and less as the always-parental media (who know what’s best for us) refuse to replay or reprint them, for fear of upsetting anyone or of being politically incorrect.
That’s not the case here. Truth lives, and sometimes it hurts. We can try to bury it in the past, but we can’t ever let ourselves forget what really happened…and what really did happen that day? Put yourself in some other shoes…
Suppose you were a tourist hoping to get an early start on seeing all the sights of New York, or maybe you are a local on your way to work. The day is beautiful and calm until the first plane strikes the North Tower of the World Trade Center. Not long after, another plane strikes the South Tower. Shock and fear surround you as the chaos unfolds. As you watch people running—and jumping—from the two skyscrapers, you wonder why this is happening and when it will end.
Inside the building, those who managed to escape later described what was going on as “surreal” and “hellish”. You definitely get that feeling when you listen to the 9-11 calls of those trapped above the points of impact. Kevin Cosgrove’s last moments of life have been heard and remembered by people who never met him, as were those of Melissa Doi. Both of their 9-11 calls have been edited together here. Mr. Cosgrove, trapped on the 105th floor of the South Tower is last heard exclaiming, “Oh, God!”, as the tower begins to come down above him.
No less compelling are the terrified pleas of Ms. Doi to the 9-11 operator, asking if anyone was coming to help them on the 83rd floor. Trying to keep her calm, the operator tries repeatedly to reassure her as she asks, “I’m going to die aren’t I?” Ms. Doi also describes the unbearable heat and the heavy smoke that caused many office workers to jump some 1200 feet to their deaths to avoid being incinerated.
This above photo, known as “The Falling Man” became famous around the world. Most papers ran it only once, resulting in much criticism from their readers. The Associated Press photographer who took the picture, Richard Drew, expressed his feelings towards the critics by saying, “I didn’t capture this person’s death. I captured part of his life. This is what he decided to do, and I think I preserved that.” Drew explained in an interview that 9-11 was more than just the crumbling of the buildings. It was about the people. Nine years later, the identity of this man is still uncertain, but in his death, he’s become a symbol of the horrendous choice many of those in the towers were forced to make that day.
- Photo by Susan Meiselas/ Magnum Photos
**PLEASE CHECK BACK FOR PART 2 POSTING TOMORROW AFTERNOON***