13 Years Since the September 11 Terror Attacks on the United States of America

C an you believe that it was 13 years ago today since the terror attacks which occurred in the United States of America on September 11, 2001?

In some ways to me, it seems like yesterday; but in other ways, it feels like that day was a lifetime ago. In fact, the last time I stood on the observation deck at the top of one of the towers at the World Trade Center was September 12, 1998.

I never would have dreamt that a mere three years later, the towers would be destroyed by a terrorist attack. More on that in a moment…

…but first let me post the content of an e-mail message I just received moments ago from Denny Flanagan, who is a veteran pilot and captain at United Airlines:

It’s early morning on September 11th in Shanksville Pennsylvania. I am here with over 50 United crew members to honor the memory of the Pilots, Flight Attendants and Customers of United Flight 93. It has been 13 years since that terrible day and time makes us forget, but we should not. When you hear the Nation Park Ranger tell the story of the Flight 93 coming in at a steep angle and making a 30 foot deep crater it just sends shivers up my spine.

Tonight I had dinner with the county coroner which mostly dealt with car accidents. Wally Miller spent from September 11th to February 12th looking for body parts in which he only recovered 2%.

In the last 13 years we have honored the memory and love of flying of Capt. Jason Dahl through a scholarship to financially help young men and women seeking an aviation career. This past June we awarded 18 scholarships and each year our program continues to grow. We can use your help in our Just A Buck program. Go to dahlfund.org and click the Donate Button. Please make at least a minimum donation of $1 each month.

PayPal caught up with me and is not allowing my aircraft raffles across state lines any longer. Now I just will be using the “Just A Buck”. My Flyer Talk contact list is short so if you Blog, Twitter, Facebook or use a Land Line please get the word out to your flying friends.

Today or tomorrow look at our Facebook page for photos of the Memorial Service……………………… Captain Jason Dahl Scholarship

We greatly need and appreciate your support.

As I first imparted in this article three years ago, even when I traveled short distances back in 2001, I used to fly as a passenger on airplanes instead of drive in case I needed to fly somewhere else at the last minute. However — for some reason still unknown to me to this day — I decided on the evening of September 10, 2001 to take a car to get to a client the next morning, rather than fly as a passenger on an airplane.

Not long after starting to do business at the office of the client, the news began to unfold over the radio. Being originally from New York and knowing the flight paths for all three major New York airports, I first thought that an aircraft accidentally flew too closely to one of the World Trade Center towers on approach to Fiorello LaGuardia Airport — until I heard about the second airplane crash into the other tower minutes later. I also heard about the attacks on the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. and the fate of United Airlines flight 93, both of which would have been major top stories if each had happened on their own. With all that was going on, it seemed like the world was coming to an end that day. Upon hearing that the towers both collapsed and realized the potential of many thousands of people losing their lives, the employees of the client company decided to hold a prayer vigil.

Believe it or not, I actually successfully completed my business at the client, despite the major distraction of the tragedy that had unfolded. By no means was that an easy task.

I remember driving home alone for three hours on an empty highway that afternoon. Electronic signs declared a national emergency and that the airports were closed. Few vehicles were on the normally-clogged highways at rush hour. It was quite an eerie experience…

…and then I became angry.

How dare some third-world terrorists come over here and destroy part of my home using conveyances carrying innocent people as weapons? How dare they kill thousands of my fellow citizens who were simply trying to live their lives as usual?

All I wanted to do on September 11, 2001 was to find the tallest building and get to the top of it, or fly as a passenger on an airplane. I wanted to shout to the adversaries that if they wanted a war, bring it on, for they will be sorry. I wanted to show those low-life terrorists that they don’t scare me; that our country will only be stronger; and that the United States will be better than ever despite their attempts to destroy it.

Alas, people were afraid — especially in New York, where people are known to be tough and resilient. The routine life of air travel in the United States has significantly changed — and there are those who say for the worse; that the terrorists have won; and that the freedoms and liberties fought for by countless brave soldiers in many wars have diminished or disintegrated because they have been sacrificed in the name of safety and security.

I still believe that a network of systems in the United States needs to be developed where a reasonable balance is struck between protecting the freedoms and liberties guaranteed to American citizens by the Constitution and ensuring effective safety and security without infringing upon those freedoms and liberties. The United States of America needs to once again be a favored place for foreigners to travel willingly without being subjected to what seems to be unreasonable security procedures.

Finally — as with thrill seekers who run onto the playing fields of professional sporting events — terrorists must not be given the spotlight when they commit their heinous acts, no matter how big or small, as the attention only encourages them. Perhaps I am incorrect; but I get the feeling that members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant — also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS — are enjoying the vast amounts of attention they are currently receiving and may actually be feeling more empowered as a result.

We also need to keep in mind and remember that just because a person is Muslim does not mean that he or she is a terrorist. There are terrorist groups of all denominations and sizes; and even though the ones spotlighted in the media might have people who claim to be Muslim as the majority of their members, that does not mean in any way, shape or form that the majority of Muslim people are terrorists.

People all over the world need to work together not only to fight terrorism effectively, but to also mitigate — and even eliminate — the reasons behind what causes terrorist acts to happen in the first place…

…and that does not apply only to what happened on September 11, 2001. This applies to all acts of terrorism.

No matter where we live or travel — no matter who we are — we cannot be afraid.

A similar variation of this article was first posted at the What’s Your Point? weblog.

One thought on “13 Years Since the September 11 Terror Attacks on the United States of America”

  1. Charlie says:

    Very thoughtful, well written piece, Brian. Thanks for again sharing your personal reflections – always nice to read.

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