We Will Always Remember
The weather has been dreary all week. Lee was making it’s way up the coast bringing rain, flooding, power outages and playing havoc. As if we haven’t already had enough. Rattled by earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, and tropical storms. Despite the external havoc, the foremost thought on everyone’s mind the last few days was the one thing that we will never forget. How could we? From front page footage of scenes reviving the horror, to recollections, and never before seen or heard stories of one of the worst tragedies to touch the free world. The somberness reflected on each and every face: remembering the horror of this day, ten years ago. It was gloomy on all fronts all week.
Reading an article drawing parallels on great tragedies that touched the US such as Pearl Harbor, the assassination of John F Kennedy and September 11 attacks, the author noted that after the terrorist attacks changes were less dramatic and less resolved. After Pearl Harbor we went on to win the World War II. After JFK assassination, the nation passed landmark civil rights legislation and landed first men on the moon.
Through out history wars have been fought and won. The enemy always had a name and a face. There was certainty on who won and who lost. Now the enemy has many faces and victory and victor are less clearly defined. Osama bin Laden is dead. But is the war over?
It was the one and only time that I went for a walk with my neighbor. We had planned ahead and decided to meetup at 5:30 am. Walking in the dark, pre dawn, my friend made some vague references to conversations with her husband of an aircraft crashing in NY. Due to lack of further information, neither of us gave further thought to the incident. Later, reaching home after our walk, still plagued by my conversation with my friend, I turned on the TV more out of curiosity to learn more on the aircraft crash than any seriousness. So unfolded one of the worst days in my life.
I watched in horror, as the second aircraft crashed into the second World Trade Center building, Wasn’t this supposed to be an aircraft crashing? Maybe engine failure? By the time the third and later the fourth aircraft crashed it was War! The events of that day touched everyone across the world. It opened our eyes to what heinous crimes people can stoop to and inflict damage. The tragedies of that day will remain with us, so will the courage and bravery of all the people on the day and in the aftermath.
The special flight rules, the pat downs, barricades, temporary flight restrictions, searches, id checks, increased surveillance and other security measures are all a legacy of 9/11. But they keep us safe. A decade later, there are special rules to follow, but general aviation is still strong in the Washington DC area. A decade later, we can still fly through the Hudson River Corridor. The greatest airshow in the world hosted in splendor each year by EAA (despite some rumors of threats) still goes on.
The somberness of the day highlights the tragedies we all experienced on that day. It also highlights the fortitude with which all of us have faced this great calamity and won. We might not have won the war on terror but we won the biggest battle and came together in ways unimaginable.
But today the sun is shining. It is another of those beautiful summer days. One can’t be gloomy, not with the sun shining so brightly. Human kind has great resilience for adversity. Let us remember, commemorate and celebrate the lives of many people who sacrificed their life so we can be safe. Tomorrow is another glorious day and the show must go on!