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W I D E   A W A K E

September 11, 2001: Random Thoughts

September 14, 2001

In the world of comic books, the slaughter of innocent men, women, and children at the World Trade Center (WTC) would clearly not have happened. You just know it wouldn't have happened. In the world of comic books, Superman would have intercepted the jets before they hit the towers. He would have brought the planes down safely, and everyone on board would have been saved. With his hypersensitive abilities, he would have dashed to Washington, DC and he would have saved the Pentagon and those aboard that ill-fated jet. Likewise, he would have rescued the passengers and crew aboard United Airlines Flight 93 which crashed in Shanksvile, Pennsylvania. Terrorism would have been stopped dead in its tracks, and all would be well in a world dominated by truth, justice, and the American Way.

But we live in the world, not in the world of make believe. The WTC has been destroyed and several thousand lives have been pointlessly taken away. The destruction, devastation, and catastrophic loss of life on September 11, 2001, is inexcusable. To say that "we let our guard down" is simply not enough, nor is it true. This was not a random chance act of terror, but an indication of the ease with which individuals who would see us die are enabled to carry out their vile desires. This terroristic act demonstrates that our “intelligence agency” has all the effectiveness of a lost child.

New security measures are being implemented at airports nationwide. However, grounding all flights, disallowing plastic knives from airline meals, and refusing curb-side and offsite luggage check-ins are merely the tip of a snow-covered iceberg of measures that need to be enacted. Much, much more needs to be done by the FAA to ensure that acts of this nature never happen again. An overhaul of the entire system is necessary; sadly, it should have been done years ago. Until September 11, the only successful skyjacking in the U.S. occurred some 25 years ago when, on November 24, 1971, a man calling himself Dan Cooper boarded a Northwest Orient Airlines jet at Portland International Airport. Once airborne, “D.B.” Cooper announced to the stewardess that he was carrying a bomb. Cooper would eventually jump from the plane at 8:13 p.m., as it flew over the Lewis River and Southwest Washington. Not exactly the same type of terrorism as we've been subjected to in this new millennium, is it folks?

George W. Bush has vowed to punish the aggressors. We are at war. But with whom? I fear for the safety of our citizens and for the future. And believe me, the effects of September 11 will be felt long into the future. Our national and world economies will not be the same. If and when our nation acts on its promise that we are in a state of war, how many American men and women will be sacrificed? How many more lives must be lost?

Those who live and work in New York have already had their lives drastically affected by the devastation. But the effects will be very long; for many, they will be life long. This incident did not involve 10, or 100, or even 1,000 individuals. It involved many thousands of people! This tragedy seems to be uniting Americans. I hope it does, because we have been killing one another on our own streets for far too long. Let this be a wake up call to each of us, and to politicians, entertainers, writers, filmmakers--those who dictate "entertainment" and shape policy in these United States. It is time to become responsible adults, to reach high, not to sink to the lowest common denominator.

Several sick individuals--who are in every way as demented as those terrorists who orchestrated this tragedy--have sent emails with felonious quotes from Nostradamus proclaiming that he foresaw this day would come. Rubbish. This is but a scare tactic by heartless radicals who would try to frighten an already nervous nation. Other sick, misguided individuals have actually tried to sell debris from the WTC on e-bay. E-bay has, thankfully, removed these auctions and will, hopefully, permanently ban these individuals from selling and trading.

Like you, I have been feeling much anxiety about my safety, about the safety of my loved ones, and about the future safety of not only the United States, but the world as well. But America will persevere. I am not a firm supporter of George W. Bush. I did not vote for him in the Presidential election, and his beliefs and policies to not parallel my own. However, he is our country's leader, and as such is charged with the responsibility of guiding America onward. We shall, none of us, forget the events of this week and the days and weeks that will follow, nor should we. If we, God help us, do forget, then who lost their lives to terrorism—-those deaths will mean nothing and, really, they ought to mean something. They ought to usher in an era of change, an era of responsibility and care for each other. And yes, hopefully, an end to terrorism (though that goal is so lofty and contains so many X-factors, it seems unlikely). Let us remember this week and pray for those who have died, for their friends, families, and colleagues, and for the many rescuers who are trying, despite the danger, the odds, and the toll it must surely take on their personal stability, to save others who are, hopefully, still alive beneath the debris.

We are, indeed, a changed nation, and the changes are only beginning.

How To Help

Donations to help the victims of the WTC disaster can be sent to:

The September 11th Fund
United Way New York City
2 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10016

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