Tag Archives: World Trade Center

9/11: All Americans should visit the memorials

Yours truly, posing with two of New York’s finest during our visit to the WTC Memorial site in 2015

 

On September 11, 2001, the United States of America came under attack by Islamofascists who were representative of millions around the world who hated – who, in fact, still hate – our way of life.

Thousands of Americans were killed and injured. The iconic Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York fell. The eye of the Pentagon, the very home of American security, was blackened, with more than a hundred more killed.

And in a previously anonymous field in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, United Air Lines Flight 93 exploded into the ground. All 44 people on board were killed, including a number of brave passengers who rushed the terrorists who had overpowered the crew and taken command of their plane.

As with every September 11th since that fateful day, AmericanS remember. Just as with the attack on our nation that occurred on December 7, 1941 at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, we will never, ever forget.

We watch on television and our devices as the President delivers a message to the nation. The roll of names will be read of those who were killed at the various locations in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania. They are pictures and sounds that most of us have seen and heard in some version for 18 years now.

But there is another thing that I would recommend every American should do at some point. Actually plan a trip and go to the site of each of these memorials.

In late summer 2015, my wife and I undertook a trip to Manhattan. We stayed at the World Center Hotel, with a room overlooking the World Trade Center memorial site. We visited the memorial area, and went to the top of the new Freedom Tower.

The 9/11 memorial park itself, in the very footprint of the former Twin Towers, is a moving place of reflection adjacent to a beautiful, serene park.

Freedom Tower, formally known now as One World Trade Center, is a majestic, powerful symbol of America’s ability to recover and thrive after attack and disaster.

It was a trip that I am so very glad now that we took. I have not yet been to the Pentagon, or to the Flight 93 Memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. They are absolutely on my personal bucket list.

I would encourage all Americans to make a trip to each of these memorials. Being there in person, at the very place where so much death, destruction and carnage took place on that day, really brings it all home so much more powerfully than any television image.

Below are links to many of the official memorial sites and other valuable resources to help plan your trips.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Areas of the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial will be closed for lighting repairs and construction, due to be open fully again by late May 2020.

NEW YORK

PENNSYLVANIA

WASHINGTON, D.C.

READ MORE

(previous related pieces that I’ve published)

7.07.2005 – Hello, American liberals? London calling

11.28.2007 – Seven signs of terrorism

7.23.2008 – Islamism Series: Introduction

9.11.2008 – Incredible 9/11 video

12.30.2008 – American of the Year: George W. Bush

9.11.2009 – 9/11: Not the first attack on America, won’t be the last

9.11.2009 – Where were you?

9.11.2011 – 9/11: Are we expected to forgive?

9.11.2013 – How long will we “Never forget”?

 

 

 

How Long Will We "Never Forget"?

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For the past 11 years on this date, we’ve all heard, spoke, typed a now familiar refrain: “Never Forget!”

What we must never forget, of course, are the attacks against our nation on September 11th, 2001 by radical Islamists bringing their war against western civilization right to our doorsteps.

Today, I heard a couple of different things that made me realize just how difficult a proposition that it is to actually “never forget” something, even something as big as 9/11.

First, on my drive in to work this morning, I was listening to a radio station when the usual cast of morning show hosts began to discuss the date, and to go over their memories of that Tuesday morning.

Those of us who experienced it can remember clearly what an absolutely gorgeous, perfect morning it was – clear skies and comfortable temperatures. The kind of day you give thanks to the Lord for blessing us with.

Then everything changed, in a span of just 17 minutes between 8:46 and 9:03 am, when those sons of Muhammad crashed a pair of hijacked airliners into each of the iconic Twin Towers of the World Trade Center on the waterfront of Manhattan island in New York City. Just over a half hour later, a 3rd airliner crashed into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and a 4th crashed into a field in Pennsylvania a half hour after that.

The United States of America was under attack on our own shores for the first time in 60 years, the first time since World War II, when the Japanese decimated the American naval fleet at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

The ensuing chaos, the grounding of flights across the nation’s skies, the collapse of the iconic towers, the growing numbers of people lost and killed. Firefighters, police officers, other rescue workers, and regular citizens putting their lives on the line to attempt and effect rescues.

How could anyone who lived through it ever forget all that.

Ah, but there’s the rub. You see, not everyone alive today lived through that, at least not in their conscious memories. Those radio hosts that I was listening to brought up that their kids, now in the upper levels of elementary school and in junior high, had no direct memory of 9/11 whatsoever. Sure, they saw films on TV, but for these kids, and for many kids today of any high school age, the experience is not what adults of that day remember, if these kids and teens recall anything of it first-hand.

The second thing that happened today was that my brother complained that there had been no widespread, organized “Moment of Silence” at 9:37 am, the time that the 3rd plane had exploded into the side of the Pentagon, and a moment that had been memorialized each year since.

My explanation didn’t seem to satisfy him, but I believe it is no less true. We are not going to, as a nation, “Never Forget” – at least we are not going to remember with the raw emotion that people who are now in their mid-20’s and older feel.

My brother felt that “poor planning may have played a role” in this particular instance, and he may be right. But that only serves to highlight my point – there would have been no such “poor planning” in 2002 or 2005 or 2008.

The further we get away from that day, the more people are going to not build every emotional remembrance into their planning, and the more people who experienced it at all are simply going to have left this earth.

For kids today, their memory of 9/11 is what mine would be of the Kennedy assassination – nothing. Sure, I was alive when JFK was killed in Dallas in November 1963, but I was days shy of my 2nd birthday. There was no way that I was going to have any memory of that event, even though it was on our home television daily, and even though every fabric of society around me was affected deeply. I learned of and know about the events from TV, movie, and book accounts. I know of the event as history. That’s how today’s kids know 9/11, as history.

So while we will not forget the events of the morning of September 11th, 2001 for a long time, and those of us who actually lived it will carry it with us for decades still to come, some for maybe as much as 2/3 of a century, the fact is that one day 9/11 will be to citizens of the United States what Pearl Harbor is to us today – history. Sure, we will keep on saying that we must “Never Forget”, but the raw emotional power of the moment will be gone.

The real challenge is to make sure that Americans of any age and time never forget the important turning points in our nation’s history, from Lexington & Concord to Gettysburg, from Pearl Harbor to Dallas, from Memphis to Shanksville.

We need to ensure that even as the emotion passes, and as every person alive that day passes, that the people of the United States somehow learn to “Never Forget” the events that have shaped the very fabric of the greatest nation that God has ever blessed.

9/11: Are we expected to forgive?

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One of the most basic foundations for any person of faith is the notion put forth by 18th century English poet Alexander Pope in that “to err is human, to forgive divine“, and that we should love even our enemies. But how far does that go?

Are the families and friends of those killed in the Islamofascist terror attacks against America on September 11th, 2011 expected to forgive the terrorists who carried out the attacks and those who helped plan it, including people like the now-deceased Osama bin Laden?
Are the families of Holocaust victims to be expected to forgive their Nazi captors and murderers, including Adolf Hitler? The families of Sharon Tate, the Labiancas, and their other victims expected to forgive Charles Manson and his followers? The families of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman expected to forgive O.J.?
Would the widow of murdered Philly cop Danny Faulkner, Maureen, and his fellow Philadelphia police officers be expected to forgive Mumia Abu-Jamal? Would all of the jPhilly police officers’ families who had their husbands, wives, sons, daughters, parents, friends and co-workers taken from them in recent years, even over the department’s history, be expected to forgive those who murdered or were otherwise responsible for the deaths?
There is an easy answer to what is basically one question: should we be expected to forgive people for the very worst things that they could possibly due to us and our loved ones. That answer is an unequivocal, resounding, empowering “Yes“.
In the New Testament Gospel of Matthew (18:21-22), Peter approaches Jesus and asks him “Lord, how often must I forgive my brother if he wrongs me? As often as seven times?” Peter is asking Christ what are the limits, how much can some one wrong us before it is okay not to forgive. Jesus’ answer: “Not seven, I tell you, but seventy-seven!”
Jesus has just told Peter that there is no limit to forgiveness. A great number and variety of crimes against us, “seven” crimes against us, is not enough for unforgiveness, we need to be prepared to forgive at least as many as “seventy-seven“, some unimaginable number, of crimes against us.
In the Bible’s book of Sirach, 27:30 into 28:1-7 reads as follows:
“Wrath and anger are hateful things, yet the sinner hugs them tight. The vengeful will suffer the LORD’S vengeance, for he remembers their sins in detail. Forgive your neighbor’s injustice; then when you pray, your own sins will be forgiven. Should a man nourish anger against his fellows and expect healing from the LORD? Should a man refuse mercy to his fellows, yet seek pardon for his own sins? If he who is but flesh cherishes wrath, who will forgive his sins? Remember your last days, set enmity aside; remember death and decay, and cease from sin! Think of the commandments, hate not your neighbor; of the Most High’s covenant, and overlook faults.”
Jesus Christ taught: “You have heard that it has been said that you shall love your neighbor, and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies: do good to them that hate you; and pray for them that persecute you.”
Remember who we are when considering this question that, for many humans, seems so difficult on it’s face in those worst situations. Remember that we are Christians, called to be like Christ, called to learn from his Word and his example lived. We are called to be more, to be better. We are called to love.
Now, does this mean that we are to be pushovers, stepping stones? Hardly. Remember, we are called to “forgive” and to “love”, but we are never told to forget. On this, the 10th anniversary of the attacks of 9/11 on our nation, we are specifically reminding one another not to “Never Forgive!” but instead to “Never Forget”, and this is entirely appropriate.
Grieve your losses and bury your dead. Question your enemies and protect your families, homes, property, neighborhoods, and nations. But you will never, ever heal from any wrong or hurt, any lie or misdeed, any rape or murder or genocide, from any hate unless or until you forgive.
That means to fully forgive in your heart, all the way through. Pray, reflect, read the New Testament, seek spiritual guidance. Do whatever you need to do in order that you can find a way to truly forgive those who have wronged you and yours. Then do the smart thing, never forget. Do not leave yourself or yours: family, community, nation, open to such a crime or hurt again.
To err and lie and mislead is human, unfortunately. To commit crime, rape, murder, genocide is a monsterly abomination inspired by Satan himself. But to forgive, even in the face of those worst atrocities, is divine. It is from God, is taught by Jesus Christ, and is what is expected of His followers in all circumstances. God bless you.

9/11: Not the first attack on America, won’t be the last

“The British are Coming!” “Remember the Alamo!” “A Date Which Will Live in Infamy” “9/11”

All of these phrases are now burned by history into the collective American consciousness, automatically bringing us back to times when our nation was under attack right here on our own soil.

However, the first three are actually a bit misleading in that regard. Neither the British attacks in the Revolutionary War, the Mexican attack in Texas, or the Japanese attack in Hawaii happened in an official state of the Union.

In the first, the United States was not a fully formed, world recognized, independent nation, but instead was fighting for some type of independence from the British empire. It shouted a warning among the American colonists that British troops were approaching, and is usually specifically related to the midnight ride of Paul Revere.

It also hearkens us back to a time when British ‘red coats’ were firing on Americans, burning homes and businesses, and marching across the land that we now know as the United States of America.

The battle at the Alamo mission also was not fought on what was then technically United States soil, but was fought between the Republics of Mexico and Texas in the aftermath of the Mexican revolution. It was a decade before Texas would officially become a U.S. state.

The Texan forces fighting for their independence from the Mexican government where vastly outnumbered, yet fought off the Mexican troops valiantly before finally being overrun and massacred. The incident rallied Texans to eventual victory, and ultimately to statehood.

Again, the Japanese sneak attack in Hawaii did not technically take place on an official state in the Union. On December 7th, 1941, Hawaii was an annexed American territory and the site of an extremely strategic naval base located at Pearl Harbor. When the Japanese bombs and kamakazi pilots virtually wiped out the American Pacific Naval fleet that morning, it not only sparked our entry into World War II, but also showed the importance of Hawaii to our interests, resulting in full statehood by 1959.

Most people alive today know full well of the events of 9/11 as they relate to more attacks on American soil, attacks this time on an official state (New York) as well as on the seat of our government (Washington, D.C.), along with a thwarted attack that ended in the loss of American lives in Pennsylvania.

Here in Philadelphia and along much of the American east coast, today is a dark, gloomy day on which the rain pours from the skies. I will refrain from talk of it being tears for the lives of the nearly 3,000 victims lost that day. The only reason that I point out the bleak weather conditions today is to relate how stark the contrast it is with that absolutely gorgeous late summer morning, now eight years ago.

America awoke and began it’s commute to work on that Tuesday morning with little thought of the radical Islamic assault that was fully planned and already operational. Despite repeated threats and actual attacks leading up to that day, most Americans had their heads in the sand regarding men such as Osama bin Laden and groups such as Hamas, Hezbollah, and al Qaeda. We were virtually untouchable and absolutely indestructible as a nation. All that went away in just a couple of hours.

Despite the magnitude and suddeness of those attacks, the loss of all of those lives, the televised attacks on and collapse of the iconic Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, a jet airplane ramming through the core of our national defense at the Pentegon, the grounding of American air traffic for almost a week, and the subsequent wars fought in Iraq and Afghanistan we seem to have learned little.

The radical Islamists who attacked us that morning were not representatives of any particular nation. We were not attacked that morning and at other times by Saudi Arabia, or Iraq, or Afghanistan, or Iran, or Libya, or Egypt, or any single Middle Eastern or Arabic nation or group of nations. We were attacked by radical groups operating within those nations who are inspired by the Koran and their faith to conquer the world on behalf of Islam.

In past wars and battles, whether fought to form the United States as with Britain, to expand the United States as with Mexico, or to defend the United States as with Japan the enemy was usually an easy to define nation-state. It had borders, populations, armies, resources, and allies that were usually easily definable.

To win, you had to defeat the other guys in head-to-head physical combat. There was a measure of ideology that needed to be defeated as well, but ultimately if you won the physical battles and suppressed the enemy troops and their leaders, you were the clear winner.

I put it to you that it is no different now. We still need to win that physical battle. But as with those past conflicts, this is also a war of ideologies, and we must also win on that front to ever have a long-lasting peace. This war must be fought and won on two fronts, both of which we must be willing to support and sustain if we want to win.

On one hand we must support and sustain the ideological war that is raging within Islam itself. There are moderate forces within that religion, the 2nd largest on the planet with an influence over approximately 1.5 billion people, or almost 1 in every 5 people on the planet.

The radical forces calling for that religion to control the world not only religiously, but also sociologically, financially, politically is growing. We must support in every way the forces within Islam that want to maintain it as a part of the whole where the world is concerned, not as a world domination ideology.

On the other hand, we must be willing to back that financial and rhetorical support up with our armed forces. The radical Islamist groups are heavily armed, well equipped, and train regularly.

And their numbers and influence are growing, as is their technology. It is just a matter of time before nuclear weapons are in the hands of radical Islamic terrorist regimes. Once that happens, these groups will use these weapons to further their agenda in Israel, Europe, and here in America. Until such elements are effectively wiped out, we are going to have physical battles to fight.

There will be a number of remembrances across the country and around the world today on the 8th anniversary of those radical Islamic attacks on September 11th, 2001. There will be a few television programs this evening that will recall the events of that day. If you have not yet seen them, I can highly recommend four different films that you need to watch.

9/11” was perhaps the best documentary on the day of the attacks made to date. This and “United 93” are probably the two best films ever made to this point. “World Trade Center” is also a well made dramatic depiction of the New York attacks. Finally, the documentary film “Obsession” tells the full story of the radical Islamic problem across the world today.

9/11 was not the beginning of this world-wide ideological struggle, and we will not likely see the end any time soon, if ever. There will be further dates to remember, catch-phrases to live in infamy.

Today we should remember those who lost their lives that day, as well as those who fought and continue to fight for victory in the continuing ideological struggle against the forces of radical Islam. Those forces are still out there, still bent on that same world domination, and the United States of America continues to stand as the best defense against their aggression.

Islamic terrorists aren’t poor and ignorant

Nearly everyone on earth is aware that Islamofascism is one of, if not the biggest, problems facing today’s world.

Here in America, the iconic Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York were bombed in 1993 before finally being collapsed in the attacks of 9/11.

What some are not aware of is that the United States continues to be attacked, more than a dozen and a half attempts (at least) since that infamous date in 2001.

Included among these were Jose Padilla’s plans in 2002 to set off a ‘dirty bomb’, Dhiren Barot’s plan to attack the New York Stock Exchange in 2004, Kevin James and the plot to attack the National Guard facilities in Los Angeles in 2005.

There were Narsearl Batiste and his crew and their 2006 plot to blow up the Sears Tower in Chicago, and the mammoth plot in summer of ’06 to simultaneously blow up numerous airliners flying from Britain to the U.S. using liquid explosives.

Right here in our own backyard in the Philly Tri-State area, we had the May 2007 plot to attack the soldiers at Fort Dix, New Jersey.

Who are these terrorists, and what do they want? Contrary to theories pushed by certain sociologists and liberal thinkers, terrorists are not poor, stupid, and ignorant.

An article titled “What Makes a Terrorist?” was published in the November/December 2007 issue of ‘The American’ magazine. In it, the highly-respected Pew Research Center conducted a Global Attitudes Project public opinion survey during February 2004.

The Pew survey was conducted in Jordan, Morocco, Pakistan, and Turkey in an attempt to answer just that question: what does make a terrorist? Their findings show that those who both support and engage in terrorism activities are more highly educated and much better off financially than most in the region.

A similar study by the Rand Corporation found that almost 60% of suicide bombers among the Palestinians on the West Bank and in Gaza had more than a high school education.

Nasra Hassan, a U.N. relief worker in the region conducted interviews with hundreds of militants, and stated “none of them were uneducated, desperately poor, simple-minded, or depressed.” The article states what is a simple fact: people who are willing to sacrifice themselves for a cause have diverse motivations. Some motivated by nationalism, some by religious fanaticism, some by historic grievances, etc.

Facts seem to pretty clearly support that the majority of terrorists have education and means. They know exactly what they are doing and why they are doing it, and they do it willingly and happily.

What Islamofascist proponents want is to reestablish the worldwide Caliphate and unite the world under Islam and their own political leadership.

To this end, they want to strike down western civilization, which is led by the United States and Great Britain, and which is highlighted in what they see as their own region of the Middle East by the nation of Israel.

Defeat the U.S., Britain, and Israel by either or a combination of physical destruction or political weakening of power, and the Islamic Caliphate can more easily take control. That is what they want, and they won’t cut any deals to ‘live and let live’. If we “bring home the troops” that will only stop one side from fighting.

The Islamic terrorists are not poor and ignorant. Far from it, they are coming for us, they will keep coming unless we utterly defeat them and their ideology. And in doing so, they are well aware of what they are doing, what price they will have to pay, and how long it may take to accomplish.