Thursday, September 11, 2008


On September 11, 2001, as I sat at my computer in my office in Middle Tennessee, someone said to me that an airplane had flown into the World Trade Center. I immediately tried to get to an internet news website, but traffic was making them inaccessible. When I heard that a second plane had flown into the towers, like everyone else, I realized what was going on.

By this time, my co-workers and I had a radio on a station broadcasting the ABC radio network. For as long as I live I will never forget the voice of the late Peter Jennings cracking, but then holding steady, as he described the first, and then the second, tower falling. One of the young women in my office went from quiet weeping to violent sobbing about that time. Sometime later, she would marry a soldier the week before he shipped out for Afghanistan. My boss was at the airport. Later that day, she would return to the office, shaken by the turn of events. Another colleague who had spent most of her life in northern New Jersey and had seen the towers nearly daily over a number of years, simply sat quietly.

Seven years later, perhaps overly optimistic due to the fact that those attacks have not been successfully repeated on American shores, many seem ready to push September 11 off to the dust bins of history. However, this enemy is different from those of the past, including those who caused another date, December 7, to be etched into our national memory. One suspects that we never will really be able to leave September 11 behind us. One hopes that our resolve will last.


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