Saturday, September 10, 2011
Thoughts on 9/11
It always seems that decennial anniversaries harbor special meaning. In many ways, it is the year that we determine whether the event we remember is going to have lasting meaning into the future; or, whether it is going to fade into insignificance in our memories and be replaced by some new event or anniversary.
I got a call the morning of September 11, 2001 from my mother. I happened to be at home instead of school that morning. She told me that two planes had struck the World Trade Center and I turned on our TV to watch the events of that day unfold.
My father is an airline pilot and I accumulated tens of thousands of frequent flier miles growing up as the child of an airline pilot. The cabin of an airliner is a fixed part of my life experience. I could only imagine the horror that the passengers must have experienced as their planes were hijacked, and then the gut-wrenching realization at the last moment that they were not going back to the airport as they had been misled to believe by their captors.
I listened to the audio tapes released this last week that show how the events unfolded from an air traffic control perspective. You can hear the chilling voices of the terrorists as they key the mic and instruct the passengers to remain seated. A struggle and screams in a cockpit are also heard.
Although unsettling, I found that this sobering record sharpened my focus and caused me to ponder.
It is important that we remember 9/11 for what it was. As a nation, we are only as strong as our people. May we take a moment of introspection this year. May we resolve to carry on the American tradition of life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. May we make ourselves a better people and better nation as we improve our own individual spiritual foundations. As we do so, perhaps the circumstances and forces that combined to bring about this past tragedy will be turned to our favor and require less of our life and treasure to prevent a future tragedy than is the case today.