On writing on 9/11, on and on

I’m not going to lie: I have a hard time writing about 9/11.

This is (for the most part) a political blog, but politics seems like a very small topic for a day like today. 9/11 is a messy day, not just because it’s still full of sorrow and anger for so many people who lost loved ones that day or any of the hard days that followed, but because still it is not a closed case.

On a micro level, there are still discoveries, such as the note that a Connecticut man dropped from a window on the 84th floor of Two World Trade Center that day, and which reached his family just before last year’s decennial remembrance, and which finally made it into the press this week. A fresh wound for them and, albeit on a much smaller scale, for the rest of us, too.

On a macro level, there’s a war in Afghanistan that began shortly thereafter and continues to this day. There are still tens of thousands of Americans fighting in that war, being shot at by our enemies and our alleged friends. Their mission, their fate, are still deathly important to them and their families, and should be to the rest of us, too. But to talk about those things today feels off-putting, because it invariably means diving into the politics involved in making decisions about the war and thus getting away from the unity of the day, and it feels cheap, because it’s too easy to talk about those things today and ignore them for the other 364.25 days of the year. (I am far too guilty of that myself.)

On a personal level, I feel like most people are out of things to say by now, myself included. I was working in a carpet mill that day, a month away from starting my job with the Associated Press, and didn’t even hear about the attacks until someone from the office part of the building told me in the break room at lunchtime. I still didn’t comprehend what had happened for another four hours, when I finally got a chance to see a television and the images of what had happened and was still happening, images and events that were nearly impossible to imagine before 9/11 and impossible to forget ever since.

What I remember most is the visceral reaction I and everyone else had, and that was best captured by people who spent that day capturing it instead of shuttling rugs around a mill. To this day, I prefer re-reading what was written then to almost anything written more recently. If you’ve never read Dan McLaughlin’s eyewitness account from back then, today’s the day to read it. For a longer treatment, Tom Junod’s 2009 exploration of the “falling man” photograph is haunting. Feel free to share others in the comment thread.

And feel free to share your own memories and thoughts, even the political ones. Heck, this is still a mostly free country. Just because I had to get this off my chest before getting on with the rest of my day doesn’t mean you have to do the same.

– By Kyle Wingfield

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263 comments Add your comment

H.E. Pennypacker

September 11th, 2012
11:50 am

Well said. I remember how, for a time at least, the country came together as one to reconcile what had happened, heal our wounds, and consider our response.

I demand to see Cheesy Grits Birth Certificate- Long Form Please

September 11th, 2012
11:52 am

Had just walked into work that day. Remember the receptionist saying that a plane had hit WTC.

I figured it was a small plane and an accident and went about my day. Then I heard another plane had hit. Tried to get on cnn.com and couldnt. Site was down.

Thats when I knew something was up.

Can recall the incredible anger I felt most of the rest of that day and through the night.

Thank god we finally got out of Irag and Osama bin Laden ( the mastermind behind 9/11) is dead.

getalife

September 11th, 2012
11:59 am

We united after 9/11 then a Dem won and there was no unity after a collapse and getting obl.

Divided we failed.

Finn McCool (The System isn't Broken; It's Fixed)

September 11th, 2012
12:02 pm

Glad Kyle doesn’t live in the Ireland of the 70’s, the mideast, African, or Asian countries during any of the past 40 years.

We would be having one of these remembrances every single day.

saywhat?

September 11th, 2012
12:06 pm

Today is my birthday. So at least for that, we can all be thankful and happy.

bloomberg troll

September 11th, 2012
12:08 pm

I just hope 9/11 remains a day of remembrance for everyone.

To remember the horror of the terrorist actions and the external (and internal) threats we face.
For the feelings and thoughts we had in the months after 9/11.
To remember all the lives lost that day, normal people with families.
And for the sacrifices made by members of the Armed Forces after.

9/11 will fade over time and become more history than memory. But I hope not yet.

Too many people have suffered from, and sacrificed for, 9/11 to be written off already.

Fred ™

September 11th, 2012
12:08 pm

saywhat?

September 11th, 2012
12:06 pm

Today is my birthday. So at least for that, we can all be thankful and happy.
+++++++++++++++++++

It depends. If you are not a hard right wing fanatic, all the Republicans will hate you. If you aren’t a Democrat all the Democrats will hate you.

I’m an Independent though so I say Happy Birthday. :lol:

Finn McCool (The System isn't Broken; It's Fixed)

September 11th, 2012
12:09 pm

If W’s admin hadn’t been so totally caught off guard and then violently embarrassed by the fact they missed the boat, America probably wouldn’t have so totally collectively lost it’s marbles.

They were so embarrassed they sent this country reeling – color alerts moving up and down depending on the severity of W’s latest scandal, waterboarding, Gitmo, removing shoes at the airport, wire tapping civilians.

Fred ™

September 11th, 2012
12:20 pm

Wow Finn. You gotta do that on a remembrance thread?

getalife

September 11th, 2012
12:23 pm

The cons were scared to death of a small gang and overacted.

Our President crushed this small gang and took out their leadership.

He did not use politics of fear, he took action and focused on the enemy.

Instead of attacking him, the cons should praise these actions.

bloomberg troll

September 11th, 2012
12:24 pm

Oh yes.

USA! USA! USA! :)

bloomberg troll

September 11th, 2012
12:30 pm

Finn McCool (The System isn't Broken; It's Fixed)

September 11th, 2012
12:34 pm

the administration’s level of inaction was so negligent that senior intelligence officials actually considered resigning, so as not to be in a position of responsibility when the attack took place:</i?

Officials at the Counterterrorism Center of the C.I.A. grew apoplectic. On July 9, at a meeting of the counterterrorism group, one official suggested that the staff put in for a transfer so that somebody else would be responsible when the attack took place, two people who were there told me in interviews. The suggestion was batted down, they said, because there would be no time to train anyone else.

http://www.salon.com/2012/09/11/911_what_bush_knew/

independent thinker

September 11th, 2012
12:36 pm

Over 2900 American civilians died that day and our president and his national security advisor were warned and lied about what they knew. Then our president read “My Pet Goat” while our country was being attacked. That’s what I remember. See article below of Tenet’s warnings to Condi, her distraction with other neocon priorities and what she failed to do when warned.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/09/30/AR2006093000282.html
And if you are going to defend her, tell us what the duties of a national security advisor are.

Ken

September 11th, 2012
12:37 pm

My son called me that day from Bahrain, where he had just joined his air squadron..next time I heard from him was during a refueling at Camp Rhino…worked for a NY based company, co-workers lost spouses in the WTC…worst day of my life…still remember the Islamic world dancing in the streets… some still get upset we have troops on the ground, but look at all the hard data we have captured from the laptops of those we kill over there that has prevented additional attacks on our soil- that’s the reason we must have a presence…anyone that thinks Israel didn’t know this was coming and held the info for their benefit is deluded. God Bless America!

I demand to see Cheesy Grits Birth Certificate- Long Form Please

September 11th, 2012
12:40 pm

…still remember the Islamic world dancing in the streets…

They weren’t all dancing.

The Muslims I know were horrified.

getalife

September 11th, 2012
12:43 pm

I will never forget the spontaneous reaction of people hitting the streets when our President announced they got obl. They chanted USA outside the White House.

Finn McCool (The System isn't Broken; It's Fixed)

September 11th, 2012
12:43 pm

…still remember the Islamic world dancing in the streets…

which is on par with:

the thinking that Reverend Wright gave that exact same hate sermon every Sunday for 20 years, or around 1,040 straight sermons.

@@

September 11th, 2012
12:46 pm

…it’s too easy to talk about those things today and ignore them for the other 364.25 days of the year.

I was in lockdown with eight special needs kids that day. I couldn’t help but look to their innocence for comfort, wondering what the future held for them.

This is what I choose to remember about September 11, 2001:

While tragedy unfolded, life continued. It’s estimated that over 10,000 families in the United States welcomed a new baby into the world on September 11, 2001.

Carl Sandburg once wrote, “A baby is God’s opinion that the world should go on.”

getalife

September 11th, 2012
12:48 pm

Although your nominee ignored them, lets not forget there are 77,000 Americans still fighting in Afghanistan until 2014.

I demand to see Cheesy Grits Birth Certificate- Long Form Please

September 11th, 2012
12:49 pm

Bush’s biggest mistake pre 9/11 was that he was still stuck ( much like Romney ) in a cold war way of thinking about foreign threats.

One of his biggest priorities pre 9/11 was the National Missile Defense system. Its what he and Rumsfeld wanted badly.

They weren’t looking in the right place.

@@

September 11th, 2012
12:55 pm

But to talk about those things today feels off-putting, because it invariably means diving into the politics involved in making decisions about the war and thus getting away from the unity of the day, and it feels cheap,

So true…as evidenced by some of the posts I’m reading.

Political opportunists! Not much to love there.

“Never let a serious crisis go to waste.”–Rahm Emanuel

cheep, cheep.

MarkV

September 11th, 2012
1:08 pm

This is a political blog, but what we need least today is to blame anybody in this country for the tragedy of 9/11. As far as I know nobody has ever presented evidence that any action of any American would have absolutely prevented it, or that inaction of somebody who should have acted was a unique and definite cause of it happening.

Class of '98

September 11th, 2012
1:09 pm

Beautiful day in NYC, but it was raining here in Atlanta. I was in inside sales with IBM at the time, and my boss, Cruella DeVille, insisted that we continue to make outbound sales calls to clients and prospects, as if ANYONE in the world wanted to discuss AS/400 hardware at noon on 9/11/01.

The internet crashed because the traffic was higher than ever, and about two dozen IBM’ers stood around a radio listening to AM750, trying to get updates.

What a terrible day.

Old timer

September 11th, 2012
1:14 pm

Still remember watching this and trying to explain to middle school age kids something that is unexplainable….and to reassure them the USA will stand stron….as all us grown ups were crying…

Old timer

September 11th, 2012
1:15 pm

Mark V and @@ …..Amen…..

antinewt

September 11th, 2012
1:17 pm

Like your 12:46 post @@.

Hillbilly D

September 11th, 2012
1:18 pm

As far as I know nobody has ever presented evidence that any action of any American would have absolutely prevented it, or that inaction of somebody who should have acted was a unique and definite cause of it happening.

Well said.

getalife

September 11th, 2012
1:20 pm

cons refuse to talk about w.

They called those that did not support the Iraq occupation unpatriotic.

I remember the w disaster.

I will never forget it and never vote gop.

Shawanda

September 11th, 2012
1:24 pm

What dismays me is that our government did not react appropriately, or very effectively, to the attack.

There was the understandable need to ‘do something’, but going to war in Iraq and Afghanistan missed the mark and did not get to the root of the problem. 9/11 was a criminal terrorist action, not a military one. The bad guys reportedly are situated across the globe. The way you eradicate a threat of that nature is with surgical incursions like the Navy Seal op that took out OBL, not by re-fighting World War II.

getalife

September 11th, 2012
1:24 pm

“As far as I know nobody has ever presented evidence that any action of any American would have absolutely prevented it, or that inaction of somebody who should have acted was a unique and definite cause of it happening.”

w ignored it and think a competent President would not and take action.

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

September 11th, 2012
1:26 pm

First, it is disgusting that anyone would put a political attack on a day like today, on a blog which began on such a serious and thoughtful note. You SHOULD be ashamed of yourselves, but I don’t think that is possible with those that are doing so.

To Kyle’s column, I was at home that morning, and thankfully no longer traveling in a job that used to require a lot of air travel. Found out about 30 minutes after the first plane hit that my nephew was working and studying in the WTC area while in college, and waited frantically for hours to finally hear that he was safe and sound.

Haven’t flown since, and barring some family emergency, never will again. The over-reaction of so-called Homeland Security is not my cup of tea.

Class of '98

September 11th, 2012
1:26 pm

I agree about Muslims celebrating. It was rare, both here and abroad.

When we see Muslims burning the US flag or burning our presidents in effigy, keep in mind that is the equivalent of them seeing a film of a clan rally burning a cross. They are ignorant extremists, and in the great minority.

Footage of a dozen arabs laughing and dancing in the streets on 9/11 set back US-Muslim relations 20 years, and it is a shame.

It is similar to when the media reports on a hurricane. They will find a wind-tunnel between two buildings to exagerrate the ferocity of the wind. They do it because shock footage attracts viewers. Don’t let media footage of anything determine your opinion on any issue. Think for yourself.

Hillbilly D

September 11th, 2012
1:26 pm

Let if go folks, if for only one day.

Class of '98

September 11th, 2012
1:30 pm

getalife, the “intelligence” about an impending terrorist attack before 9/11 was incredibly vague. In my opinion the truther claims about US government pre-knowlede of, or even complicity in, the 9/11attacks makes birther claims seem credible, logical, and fact-based by comparison.

getalife

September 11th, 2012
1:32 pm

Yes, lets let it go for today.

I agree but know the cons are not able to do this.

Beyond the Middle of the Road

September 11th, 2012
1:33 pm

I thought the images of Palestinians dancing in the streets were deplorable and inexcusable. But it wasn’t so much a Muslim reaction as much as a nationalistic reaction by a group of people who despise both Israel and their closest ally, the United States. I sat all workday next to my friend and colleague of over ten years, a Sunni Muslim with a very long name but who we all called “Alee.” I assure you he’s a loyal, patriotic American and he was as shocked and saddened by the events of 09/11 as anyone. Just a few decades ago Christians rounded up about 6 million Jews and slaughtered them in concentration camps. No religion has a monopoly on good or bad behavior.

iggy

September 11th, 2012
1:38 pm

“What did he know and when did he know it?”

Whatever happened to her?

East Lake Ira

September 11th, 2012
1:39 pm

The picture that is slowly emerging about GWB and his administration is inexcusable and I for one will never forget that the Neo-Cons could have done something had they not already been focused solely on Iraq.

Their shameful response was the Patriot Act and an unprecedented level of spying on American Citizens within our borders.

Shame on all of them. Never forget, never forgive.

Del

September 11th, 2012
1:40 pm

Kyle thanks for taking this time for remembrance of those innocent non-combatant lives lost 11 years ago today.

I had just dropped my wife off at her office and I was returning to mine when the news came over the radio. Instead of going into my office I drove home and turned on the television. Couldn’t believe the re-runs of those Twin Towers being hit and the people in the streets. The country united in the aftermath of 9-11 but it didn’t last very long.

JDW

September 11th, 2012
1:40 pm

The week before 9/11 I was in New York. Busy week, had lunch at Windows on the World and at the time didn’t really think twice about it. Now I still have flashbacks.

On 9/11 was a Tuesday. Normally I commuted to Boca on Monday’s but because I had been travelling for a couple of weeks I went on Tuesday that week. I boarded at around 6:20am and we hit ground in Fort Lauderdale a little after 8 am. By the time I got to the rental car the radio had the news that a plane had hit the Tower…my first thought was one of those little one engine sightseeing planes had gotten too close and clipped the Tower. Then in a few minutes the second hit occurred and I remember thinking how surreal this was.

Got to the office and the TV was on and that’s when I found out what the scope was and also that we had two employees in the building. We did not find out they were safe until after the buildings came down. When that happened I was on a conference call with some of our Board. Their office was on Madison Ave and from their window they had an eyewitness view…damn spooky.

I went to NY 10 days later…I remember looking at the skyline coming in and thinking how weird it was. I still think that everytime I go.

For the next six months I was in crisis management mode as the event had a significant impact on our business so I didn’t do much reflecting. But since then I have.

I have never made the leap to say that The Bush Administration should have prevented the attacks but they certainly missed opportunity after opportunity to do so. I can’t say they were negligent but they were damn sure incompetent.

As for the aftermath, it is hard to imagine a poorer overall performance by an Administration. Everything from mismanaging our response to knee jerk Patriot Acts to Cowboy bluster to actually torturing Prisoners of War.

I morn the lives lost that day but what we really lost was our perspective as a nation…a perspective we have not since recaptured.

iggy

September 11th, 2012
1:45 pm

OH! I found it…

“Since 2005, Cynthia became a supporter and follower of Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad’s efforts to “criminalize war.” She has appeared in Kuala Lumpur several times, declaring that city the Peace Capital of the World. She recently reported on her experience in Libya in the “Arab Uprising” Conference organized by the Perdana Global Peace Foundation and served as an official observer at the historic Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal that, on 22 November 2011, found former President George W. Bush and former Prime Minister Tony Blair guilty of the crime of aggression and other crimes against the state and people of Iraq.”

Insanity run amok…

JamVet

September 11th, 2012
1:57 pm

My heart just grew very heavy reading your topic today, Kyle.

Thank you for making me remember that which I desperately would like to forget.

Though it is small consequence, at least we brought to justice the maniacal, murderous ringleader who orchestrated this despicable deed.

Just Saying..

September 11th, 2012
2:07 pm

For someone who thinks there’s little else to say, you’ve written a very eloquent piece, Kyle.
Thank you.

fair and balanced-

September 11th, 2012
2:11 pm

“”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"”"If any one person was responsible to prevent the 9/11attacks, it was the National Security Advisor, Condi Rice. She told the 9/11 Commission and the 9/11 Widows that the “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US” memo did not warn of upcoming attacks. The memo warned of preparations for hijackings and planned attacks inside the USA with explosives. The widows came to call her “Kindaliesalot Rice”.

The widows gave the 9/11 Commission 300 questions. They only got 27 answers. They gave Condi 65 questions and got 7 answers.

On July 10, 2001, CIA director George Tenet and Richard Blee warned Condi that al Qaeda attacks were coming in the next few weeks. Later they said that if she had acted on those warnings, 9/11 might have been prevented. Cofer Black said “The only thing we didn’t do was pull the trigger to the gun we were holding to her head.”

There were also warnings from 13 foreign countries, and 3 FBI offices. The UK, Germany, Italy, and Egypt specifically warned of aircraft as weapons. Russia warned of suicide pilots. Jordan and the Cayman Islands warned of attacks involving airlines. France, the UAE, Taliban, India, Morocco, and Argentina also warned. Israel warned of 19 terrorists inside the USA planning something big, and even named at least 4 of the alleged hijackers.

The video also provides support for the report in the German press that the August 6 PDB was actually 11-1/2 pages long, not the 1-1/2 pages we have been shown.

for viewing of video of your national security advisor lying under oath and admitting she did not do her job – http://www.alien-ufos.com/conspiracy-theories/50633-condi-lied-under-oath-9-11-widows.html

southpaw

September 11th, 2012
2:11 pm

Yes, lets let it go for today.

I agree but know the cons are not able to do this
————————————————————————-
Getalife, you’ve posted more political rants than anyone else on the blog today. When did you become a con? How about actually taking that advice?

More on topic:
My wife called me at work and told me an airplane had been hijacked and crashed into a building. Since my workplace is very near Peachtree-DeKalb Airport, I wondered if my building would be next. For the next couple of hours, I had one eye on my work and the other looking out the windows. Then my co-workers and I got orders to evacuate the building and go home. I didn’t have to hear that twice. Just before getting home, I stopped at a day-care place to check on my son. He was fine, but the receptionist asked me if I wanted to take him home. Since I didn’t have a car seat for him, that should have been an instant “no,” but I was so rattled, I needed a minute or so to figure out whether to take him with me. Finally I said I would come back later for him. A few minutes later, I saw my wife. She had NEVER before been so happy to see me safe.

JF McNamara

September 11th, 2012
2:14 pm

Tax Cut. Obama is Bad. Obama is Bad. Obama is Bad. Tax Cut. Obama is Bad. 91..what?

Just kidding. Nice article. It was a horrible day. Thanks for your diligence in remembering those who lost their lives that day. Even if its hard, we need to be reminded.

Gravy Train

September 11th, 2012
2:15 pm

Wow. I can’t believe Kyle isn’t somehow trying to use this as an opportunity to take yet another shot at the President. Yes, I remember the shock of 9-11. My heart goes out to the victims and their families. However, I also remember how the Neo-cons used the situation to launch a war on Iraq. I remember my anger at Bush’s response or lack there of. He sat there with his mouth open. He looked like he crapped his pants. I remember C. Rice telling Congress that going after suspected terrorists was like swatting flies. I remember the report that said Bush’s national security report paragraph ended up in the garbage. (apparently he is incapable of reading the real report so they condensed it to a single paragraph, as was the case for all of his briefings) I remember how Bush borrowed money from oppressive governments and sent checks out in an attempt to goose the post attack economy and garner more future votes. I will remember how the GOP uses fear and misinformation to control their sheeple. I will remember that fear and hate are the real enemies…just take a look at how the GOP is still using fear and hate as a platform.

I Report (-: You Whine )-: mmm, mmmm, mmmmm! Just sayin...

September 11th, 2012
2:20 pm

NEW YORK TIMES goes after Bush on 11th anniversary of attacks…

Still deranged, libbies?

@@

September 11th, 2012
2:24 pm

Too funny!

JDW:

I have never made the leap to say that The Bush Administration should have prevented the attacks but

What…the weight of your butt pulled you over the edge?