Early in the morning of September 11, 2001, I was at my usual early morning post in the cancer ward at Salem Hospital. I remember hearing the news headline that American Airlines Flight 11 had crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York. Everyone was stunned and saddened by what we believed was an awful and tragic airline accident.
During that tragic day, and in the ensuing weeks, months, and years, we would learn that the Islamic terrorist group, al-Queda, had hijacked four US airliners that morning. One crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center, one crashed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center, one crashed into the Pentagon, and Flight 93 crashed near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. When the passengers of Flight 93 realized what was happening, they rose up to try and re-claim the plane to prevent it from crashing into its intended target. In all, 2,997 innocent people were murdered in the attacks, and over 6,000 were injured.
Once over the shock of what had happened, I remember the sense of anger that I felt when thinking about the deaths of the Innocents that terrible day. For some weeks, I felt pain in the pit of my stomach as my anger intensified. I wanted us to strike out, to hurt those who had inflicted so much murder and destruction on our country, on innocent people who were just going about their daily tasks.
Time has passed, and the emotions that accompanied the death and destruction that occurred that fateful day have lessened. I have many thoughts about the events of 9/11, but two seem more important than all of the others.
First, the events of 9/11 are the greatest failure of America’s governmental institutions in the history of our country. We, the people, agree to be governed, and we freely send 30-40% of our economic output to our government, to further the creation of a SAFE, free, and prosperous country. Public safety is the number one responsibility of government, without which there can be no freedom and no prosperity. Freedom from attack from other countries and public safety in our streets can never be compromised. We must commit all necessary time, effort and resources to be safe. There can be no compromise. Elected leaders who fail to protect us must be voted out of office, and agency leaders who fail to protect us must be replaced.
The one great glory of the Tragedy of 9/11 is the courage of so many who were caught in the horrible events that occurred that day and the selflessness of people helping people. The courage of the innocents on the planes, the courage of those who were attacked, and the courage of those who responded to the attacks, remind us that there are so many good people here. Those of us who live quiet, ordinary lives may also one day be tested by extraordinary events. It is our prayer that if we are so called upon, we will be as courageous and fearless, that we will never yield to fear or evil.
(Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.)