Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Today We Never Forget: Part 11

My heart and sympathies goes to all the men and women who were victimized by the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.   For those who read regularly, I'm about to post some commentary that may or may not be controversial to you.  Reader discretion is advised.

First of all, to the service men and women, meaning firemen, dispatchers, police men, and everyone who helped to rescue and rebuild, thank you.   In fact, to those who serve in the military anywhere for the USA, thank you.   To those who live in the United States and did not give up their daily lives in the name of terrorism.  To those who care about the stars and stripes, thank you.

When I was growing up, occasionally we'd hear about terrorist attacks in all sorts of places around the world.  It's never good news, but to see it happen in our own country was in its day groundbreaking.   My memory of 9/11 goes back to a sunny day in bed in Oxnard, CA, around 6:10 am.  I was listening to the radio and the news broke into a light hearted sports program to report a crash at the World Trade Center.   Then, as I heard the first tower collapsed, I feared for my life.  Once the second plane hit the second tower, as I heard it on the radio, I had a bad feeling there was foul play involved.  The second tower collapsed as the reporter nearly broke into tears.

What's interesting is that we then heard reports of a plane striking the Pentagon, a plane that went down in Pennsylvania and THEN the erroneous reports of plane crashes in Chicago and Philadelphia, car bombs, all sorts of madness.   The latter half of that was proven false but when it broke, it sounded like every major city was getting attacked at once.  Imagine that feeling?

The world literally stopped.  All the TV networks either switched to news simulcasts or flat out stopped broadcasting with a graphic indicating their sympathies to those who died.  I have never been more scared in my life.  I imagine everyone was.   I used to listen to the Jim Rome show regularly at that time and he took a week off... interestingly his first guest when he returned was Al Michaels, who did the Monday Night game the night before.

Many shows didn't bother to do another broadcast for a week, maybe two weeks.   Letterman, for example, took a week off and had a moving monologue on his first broadcast the next week.  This is what I find so appalling about WFAN doing regular broadcasts not only DURING the attacks, but the next day.   I can't even fathom how anyone could be in a proper state of mind that week.   The breeding ground would be so ripe for inappropriate comments, as pretty much no one could properly comprehend what was happening that exact week.  That they insisted on doing regular shows when the sports world itself was on hiatus was, in my view, a bad decision.

It was eerie indeed.   I felt so awful, and I was glad to still be at home with my family in those days.  Then it was my Dad who told me, "You can't give up life because of terrorists."  What he meant was that if we were to live in fear the rest of our lives the terrorists win because that's what they want.  Eventually, the nation rebuilt itself and while we still feel 9/11's effect today, I'm glad to know that we are still a strong nation that cares about freedom.  In its worst time, the USA took a stand.  The fight against terrorism continues, but we will never forget: 9/11/01.

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