I just watched a Discovery Channel special on Firehouse 10 in New York City. Ten House is on Liberty Street across from the World Trade Center complex and those brave firefighters were part of the first responder group.
Six men gave their lives in an effort to save thousands of others.
A dozen years later, the memory remains vivid in my mind. I was at a friend’s house outside of Detroit, Michigan to work on a stage pay we were writing. Don woke me, saying “get up – you have to see this news on t.v.”. I followed into the family room just in time to see the South Tower collapse. I honestly thought I was watching a movie – it was so surreal, beyond description, and enormous in scope and scale. Only a Hollywood Studio could do this, right?
Don and I watched in shock and silence for a few hours as the North Tower collapsed and we learned about the Pentagon and Flight 93 in Pennsylvania. We watched people jump from high floors of the Towers, the massive ash cloud – completely stunned by the devastation. I took off for home – Chicago-area – in the early afternoon and with no traffic, made the 300-plus mile drive in 4 hours or so.
In the ensuing days and weeks, the world learned about the Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda and its leader – Osama Bin Laden. We learned about the resilience of the American population and the beginnings of the war on terrorism.
Despite all that I’ve learned since that time, all the 9-11 specials I’ve watched, the articles I’ve read or the annual postings to honor those that died on a horrific day, I am left with a burning question: Why? Why would a small group of radical religious fanatics be so hell-bent on killing so many, on destroying so many lives? I am in my mid-40’s now and if I live to be 100, I will never forget 9-11-2001, just as my Dad (now 90) will never forget where he was (church service in California) after the attack on Pearl Harbor.
To the 2,996 men, women, and children (includes 19 hijackers) that were pointlessly killed on 9-11-2001 and their families, I can only offer my deepest sympathies, shock, and profound sadness, even after a dozen years. I never met any of you, but I will always remember that tragic day and pray for you. Always.