I had overslept after
working the night shift. A few times throughout the day, I heard my
phone ringing. I ignored it.
When I woke up, I had a couple of
"Erik, turn on the news. Any channel will
"Erik, look at
the news. Terrorists crashed a plane into the World Trade
In my mind, I pictured a small Cessna-type plane
crashed in the WTC plaza. I got onto the internet and looked at CNN.
A plane had crashed into the Pentagon, it said. Hmm, that message
must have been a mistake.
I kept reading. Very quickly, I
turned on the TV.
Many of my friends watched it live, but I
experienced the full horror of 9/11 after the fact, having slept
through the whole thing. My reaction was immediate: I accessed some
guns and kept them handy, and verified the status of my loved ones.
In 2001, 9/11 proved to me (and hopefully others) that there
was no scenario too impossible to plan for. Following 9/11 we
witnessed the Madrid bombings, 7/7 London bombings, Fort Hood
shootings, as well as a host of other terrorist attacks. Many of the
"thwarted” attacks failed only because of the terrorist's
extraordinary lack of criminal sophistication.
don't think that our response to 9/11 has been the correct one; the
TSA is laughably incompetent, overbearing, and ineffective. Our wars
overseas have been twisted to meet a political agenda that has
nothing to do with fighting terrorism (I should stress that this in
no way reflects on the men and women who served, and continue to
serve with honor in our Armed Forces). But real, effective solutions
to the problem of terrorism - both overseas and wthin our borders -
seem to be elusive.
For our government, 9/11 has turned into
an excuse to enact stupid laws and continue failed policies. For the
majority of our citizens, 9/11 was just a movie they watched. It's
ten years later now, and some are questioning if it is still
For roughly 5000 people, 9/11 will always be
relevant - it will be the day they died in a war most of them did not
know had been declared. We should honor their memory and not let
their deaths be meaningless.
9/11 should have been a wakeup
call for our government and our citizens. 9/11 has shown us that no
terrorist scenario is implausible. For our citizens, 9/11 should
serve as a reminder that, in the face of disaster, you and only you
are going to be responsible for your safety.
I personally do
not believe that we will never have another terrorist attack. I can
only hope that I am wrong. If I am right, should I find myself in the
midst of it, I am committed to rise to the challenge.