A truly great piece of work, rational and
remarkably written, appeared on the list of "New Writeups" yesterday. That
single piece summed up in a brief read the absolute ridiculousness of those who
would try to place blame for the events of September 11, 2001 anywhere but on the heads of the nineteen airline
hijackers and their leadership. Need I say how fed up I am with "blame placers"
who're mislead by the mumbo-jumbo perpetrated by a few crackpots who were
rendered dangerous by giving them a college education.
E2 was in its infancy when the most unthinkable catastrophe reached out to
touch not one but four U.S. places with fiery fingers. But for the quick
thinking of the passengers, or the ineptitude of the hijackers, or both, one of
those places was an isolated cornfield. The other three were American treasures.
I recall vividly getting coffee at a place where a television set was showing
the collapse of the first tower. Given the amount of gratuitously violent
content perpetrated by those who'd entertain us via movies, DVDs or television I
actually thought that the scene was a trailer for a new disaster film. I went
back to my car and turned on the radio. What I heard nearly caused me to back
into oncoming traffic. I asked my wife to drive the car to work. I wept openly
on the way there; it was the first time in our marriage my wife had seen me
weep. When we got to work, the first thing I did was turn on the televisions.
All of them. It was just in time to see them re-running the fall of the second
The telephone circuits to New York City were either broken or overloaded, so
I couldn't find out where my two cousins, both New York City Police Officers,
were, or how they were.
I told my staff to sit and watch as things unfolded. They questioned, "why no
work now?" I pointed to the incessant re-runs of the towers falling and told
them that at the top of one of them, there were people just like them. Nice,
humble, hard-working people who did the same thing we did. They won't be going
home tonight. So we wouldn't work until some soul who wasn't glued to a
television somewhere decided they'd like a meal.
Then they asked me if we were in any danger. I lied and assured them that
indeed we were not. I say I lied because I was not sure.
When the Pentagon reporting started to play, it was then that I realized that
only God knew if we were indeed going to be alright. I braced myself for more
bad news. Given all that we'd received in such a short period of time, I think
it was fair to expect more mayhem. Where were the jet fighters? Where was
Reagan's "Star Wars?" Where were the anti-aircraft systems the taxpayers had
spent billions on? Billions that could've gone toward ridding our worst
neighborhoods of poverty, crime and squalor.
Two hours later my wife received an hysterical telephone call from two of our
customers in New Haven, Connecticut. They were parents of a girl, a brilliant
mathematician, who worked for a company in the building. They had not heard from
her and had no friends nor nearby relatives to speak of in their new home, and
could not understand the English broadcast. We told them to drive to West
Hartford at once so we could help. When they got there, the girl's father was
calm, but solemn. Her mother was hysterical. I asked her father which floor she
worked on. He preceded his answer with the usual Chinese pride about how his
little girl worked so hard and now had a very high-paying job (at those words my
heart sank) and when he described her location as North Tower floor 86, I
started trembling. That was all he needed to know. My wife hugged the girl's
mother. I told them that but for a miraculous act of God she'd probably
perished, but perished quickly.
The funeral of that young girl was one of eleven that I attended in the
coming weeks. A twelfth was held two months later.
The unmitigated nerve of those who'd insinuate that the United States
Government perpetrated this carnage and destruction is beyond my comprehension.
That's not to say that our current Government has no blood on its hands. They
do. To describe the combat in Afghanistan and Iraq as a comedy of errors would
be a morbid understatement. However, there's no use for conspiracy theories now. Blame isn't going to bring back the thousands who perished. Blame isn't going to return our country to where it was on September 10, 2001.
We've a precious short wait on our hands until the people of this country decide what to do with the current Government. And despite their choice over the past eight years (and yes, I voted Republican the first time around) I trust the American people more than do many with regard to their political choices.
Those who have a shred of optimism in their consciousness have hopefully noticed that out of the horror, came some good. All over America, people came closer. Flags waved in solidarity. Everyone became a little closer to one another, it seems. Although, to my eyes, that effect seems to have worn off a bit with each year.
Finally, there seems to be a semblance of order back in New York City. Three
years ago I had the pleasure of being a guest at the Millennium Hilton. Again I
visited the spot that I had visited over and over (when there were buildings
there). There was just a huge chasm being dug in readiness for the building that
New York City hopes will be just as amazing a point on its landmark as were the
twin towers. Personally, I'd have liked to see the towers re-built from the
original plans. Their architecture couldn't be topped. The lobbies had an almost
cathedral-like feeling to them that inspired awe in many first visitors. But any
building built upon that site will be good enough if it punctuates the New York
City skyline in a fashion that reiterates to all who arrive there, in concert
with the Statue of Liberty, the East River Bridges and the Empire State
Building, that New York is, indeed, the greatest city in the world.