In some ways it does not seem like it has been 15 years since the worst Terrorist Attack ever perpetrated on American soil.
In other ways, it seems like an eternity.
That horrible day was so surreal. It seemed to me like I was stuck in a nightmare.
Certainly this couldn’t be happening to us? We’re the greatest nation in the world. Who in their right mind, would dare attack the United States of America? Who would be brazen enough to attack us, using instruments of our own design? Who would actually dare flying planes into the Twin Towers, a living symbol of American Prosperity?
For that matter,. who would fly a plane into the Pentagon? The Seat of Power behind our nation’s awesome Military, the finest collection of Fighting Men and Women on Earth?
It was not a nightmare. It was a reality.
I remember seeing that first plane crash into the World Trade Center.
I remember the look of incredulity and panic on the faces of Steve Doocy, Brian Kilmeade, and E.D. Hill, as they watched from the set of Fox and Friends that fateful morning.
I remember the second plane on its approach, and the horrifying realization that this was no accident… that America was under attack. An attack, which turned out to have been planned and executed by Osama bin Laden, and a group of Saudi Arabians, members of the Muslim Terrorist Group, known as al-Qaeda.
I remember the images of Americans jumping out of windows to their certain death, rather than be consumed by the fires, raging around them.
I remember the sickening thud as they hit the pavement.
I remember the images of the brave NYC Policemen and Firemen as they rushed into the World Trade Center…never to return.
I remember watching the First Tower collapse…then, the second one.
I remember a heroic Mayor Rudy Giuliani, out in the middle of the devastation, doing whatever he could to get New Yorkers to safety.
I remember President George W. Bush coming on television, with a look of steely determination, as he announced that we would be avenged.
I remember him standing on that heap of rubble that used to be a part of the World Trade Center, side by side with that fireman, telling the assembled crowd, through his bullhorn, that “the world will hear from us”.
And, it did.
Here is the tragedy of 9/11/01, broken down by the numbers. Courtesy of nymag.com:
The initial numbers are indelible: 8:46 a.m. and 9:02 a.m. Time the burning towers stood: 56 minutes and 102 minutes. Time they took to fall: 12 seconds. From there, they ripple out.
- Total number killed in attacks (official figure as of 9/5/02):2,819
- Number of firefighters and paramedics killed: 343
- Number of NYPD officers: 23
- Number of Port Authority police officers: 37
- Number of WTC companies that lost people: 60
- Number of employees who died in Tower One: 1,402
- Number of employees who died in Tower Two: 614
- Number of employees lost at Cantor Fitzgerald: 658
- Number of U.S. troops killed in Operation Enduring Freedom: 22
- Number of nations whose citizens were killed in attacks:115
- Ratio of men to women who died: 3:1
- Age of the greatest number who died: between 35 and 39
- Bodies found “intact”: 289
- Body parts found: 19,858
- Number of families who got no remains: 1,717
- Estimated units of blood donated to the New York Blood Center: 36,000
- Total units of donated blood actually used: 258
- Number of people who lost a spouse or partner in the attacks: 1,609
- Estimated number of children who lost a parent: 3,051
- Percentage of Americans who knew someone hurt or killed in the attacks: 20
- FDNY retirements, January–July 2001: 274
- FDNY retirements, January–July 2002: 661
- Number of firefighters on leave for respiratory problems by January 2002: 300
- Number of funerals attended by Rudy Giuliani in 2001:200
- Number of FDNY vehicles destroyed: 98
- Tons of debris removed from site: 1,506,124
- Days fires continued to burn after the attack: 99
- Jobs lost in New York owing to the attacks: 146,100
- Days the New York Stock Exchange was closed: 6
- Point drop in the Dow Jones industrial average when the NYSE reopened: 684.81
- Days after 9/11 that the U.S. began bombing Afghanistan: 26
- Total number of hate crimes reported to the Council on American-Islamic Relations nationwide since 9/11: 1,714
- Economic loss to New York in month following the attacks: $105 billion
- Estimated cost of cleanup: $600 million
- Total FEMA money spent on the emergency: $970 million
- Estimated amount donated to 9/11 charities: $1.4 billion
- Estimated amount of insurance paid worldwide related to 9/11: $40.2 billion
- Estimated amount of money needed to overhaul lower-Manhattan subways: $7.5 billion
- Amount of money recently granted by U.S. government to overhaul lower-Manhattan subways: $4.55 billion
- Estimated amount of money raised for funds dedicated to NYPD and FDNY families: $500 million
- Percentage of total charity money raised going to FDNY and NYPD families: 25
- Average benefit already received by each FDNY and NYPD widow: $1 million
- Percentage increase in law-school applications from 2001 to 2002: 17.9
- Percentage increase in Peace Corps applications from 2001 to 2002: 40
- Percentage increase in CIA applications from 2001 to 2002: 50
- Number of songs Clear Channel Radio considered “inappropriate” to play after 9/11: 150
- Number of mentions of 9/11 at the Oscars: 26
- Apartments in lower Manhattan eligible for asbestos cleanup: 30,000
- Number of apartments whose residents have requested cleanup and testing: 4,110
- Number of Americans who changed their 2001 holiday-travel plans from plane to train or car: 1.4 million
- Estimated number of New Yorkers suffering from post-traumatic-stress disorder as a result of 9/11: 422,000
And, here we are, a decade and a half removed from that nightmarish day, with a President of the United States, who has given a nation, who is the sponsor of Worldwide Islamic Terrorism, the means to obliterate our nation in a flash of light and the dust of a mushroom cloud and, who is so disrespected by that very same nation that they are presently taunting our warships and airplanes in the Persian Gulf with impunity.
Additionally, the Presidential Candidate of his Political Party, his Former Secretary of State, just called over half of Americans “a basket of deplorables”.
During the days after 9/11/2001, political affiliation, race, gender, personal philosophy, did not matter.
WE WERE AMERICANS.
This country came together, in a way in which I had never before seen in my lifetime (which, is a pretty long time).
Now, look at us.
It is time for Americans to once again come together to remember those who left us on that September Morning so long ago, and to say prayer for them and the Four Americans who we lost on the grounds of a US Embassy Compound in Benghazi, Libya, five years ago today.
15 years ago today, Radical Islamists attacked us on our own soil and murdered over 3,000 Americans, and if given the opportunity, they will not hesitate to do it again.
We must not allow this President or his political party’s hand-picked potential successor any more opportunities to bring about “radical change” in America through the appeasement of our enemies which includes pay-offs, acquiescence, and giving then the means of our nation’s destruction.
America was NEVER meant to be “just another country”.
We must stand united as a nation and reclaim our heritage as “The Shining City Upon a Hill”.
The lives lost on September 11, 2001…and September 11, 2011…demand it.
Until He Comes,