Combs Spouts Off

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Posts Tagged ‘world trade center’

Never forget, and teach those too young to remember

Posted by Richard on September 11, 2017

Sixteen years have passed since that awful September 11th morning. That means most of this year’s college freshmen were two. They have no memory of what happened to the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center and to the Pentagon. They don’t know or understand the significance of what the passengers on Flight 93 did, and they aren’t moved, as I am to this day, by the words “Let’s roll!” They may have seen some brief video or images, but they didn’t live it. And I suspect that their parents and teachers, in many cases, didn’t spend much time on this topic.

Most of the rest of this post is, with minor changes, what I’ve posted in past years on this grim anniversary. It’s my hope that someone will stumble across this page who is too young to remember or who has forgotten, and that it will have an impact on them. If you know such a person, share your memories from that day. Show them this post and other information about what happened and why. Maybe watch United 93 with them.

 

Sixteen years ago this morning, we watched in horror as people jumped a thousand feet to their deaths because it was better than the alternative. Later that day, we learned that the heroic passengers of United Flight 93, knowing the fate that awaited them, had fought and died to prevent their plane from crashing into the White House or Capitol. In the ensuing days, we learned the details of that brave struggle, and “Let’s roll!” became a phrase that brought goosebumps to me whenever I heard it.

We must not  forget the events of September 11, 2001. We must keep the images fresh in our memories. It’s necessary, I believe, if we’re to retain the resolve we need to understand, oppose, and defeat the ongoing Islamofascist effort to destroy our way of life, of which the attacks of 9/11 were a part.

We must not forget that there is a large, powerful, well-financed international movement dedicated to destroying Western Civilization.

On September 11, 2001, barbarians with box cutters — primitive 7th-century savages who could never build a World Trade Center or a 747, but whose insane ideology is dedicated to making the building of such things impossible — murdered 2,996 innocent people and changed Lower Manhattan from this:

Lady Liberty watching over the twin towers before 9/11

to this:

1st tower falls

Fleeing as the tower falls

Fleeing through the choking dust

Falling to his death

Never forget.

Flag still stands

Never forget.

raising the flag at ground zero

Never, ever forget.

9/11 tribute of light

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Fifteen years have passed, but we must never forget

Posted by Richard on September 11, 2016

Fifteen years have passed since that awful September 11th morning. Many millennials have no meaningful recollection of it, and apparently their parents and teachers did nothing to inform and educate them. They haven’t seen the video or images (or saw just fleeting glimpses with no context) of what happened to the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center and to the Pentagon. They don’t know or understand the significance of what the passengers on Flight 93 did, and they aren’t moved, as I am to this day, by the words “Let’s roll!”

That might explain (but not excuse) a mattress store advertising its “twin towers” mattress sale with a spoof in which two “towers” of mattresses collapse. Nothing can explain or excuse what Comedy Central did, as reported on Twitter by Tabitha Bliss, since apparently mature adult entertainment industry professionals approved and aired it. I refuse to view it and hope you won’t either, but here is her tweet:

Most of the rest of this post is, with minor changes, what I’ve posted in past years on this grim anniversary. It’s my hope that someone will stumble across this page who is too young to remember or who has forgotten, and that it will have an impact on them.

But before moving on to that portion, let me suggest that you read an Esquire article by Tom Junod entitled The Falling Man. It’s about one of the most horrifying aspects of that horrifying day. It’s about something that to this day wrenches my gut and makes my eyes well up when I think about it or see images of it, and which caused me some years ago to struggle to create lyrics for a song in my head that, if I had any musical talent, would have been recorded by now. It’s about this picture, and the countless others who did what the man in it did, but perhaps not quite as well.

falling man

Some people have forgotten now
It was many years ago
And peaceful here at home since then
So just let the memory go
But I close my eyes and see it still
Like it was yesterday — Oh no!
People jumping from a hundred-story building!
I can still see those Americans
Jumping from a hundred-story building …

© 2009 Richard G. Combs. All rights reserved.


Fifteen years ago this morning, we watched in horror as people jumped a thousand feet to their deaths because it was better than the alternative. Later that day, we learned that the heroic passengers of United Flight 93, knowing the fate that awaited them, had fought and died to prevent their plane from crashing into the White House or Capitol. In the ensuing days, we learned the details of that brave struggle, and “Let’s roll!” became a phrase that brought goosebumps to me whenever I heard it.

We must not  forget the events of September 11, 2001. We must keep the images fresh in our memories. It’s necessary, I believe, if we’re to retain the resolve we need to understand, oppose, and defeat the ongoing Islamofascist effort to destroy our way of life, of which the attacks of 9/11 were a part.

We must not forget that there is a large, powerful, well-financed international movement dedicated to destroying Western Civilization.

On September 11, 2001, barbarians with box cutters — primitive 7th-century savages who could never build a World Trade Center or a 747, but whose insane ideology is dedicated to making the building of such things impossible — murdered 2,996 innocent people and changed Lower Manhattan from this:

Lady Liberty watching over the twin towers before 9/11

to this:

1st tower falls

Fleeing as the tower falls

Fleeing through the choking dust

Falling to his death

Never forget.

Flag still stands

Never forget.

raising the flag at ground zero

Never, ever forget.

9/11 tribute of light

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Never forget

Posted by Richard on September 11, 2015

Fourteen years ago this morning, we watched in horror as people jumped a thousand feet to their deaths because it was better than the alternative. Later that day, we learned that the heroic passengers of United Flight 93, knowing the fate that awaited them, had fought and died to prevent their plane from crashing into the White House or Capitol. In the ensuing days, we learned the details of that brave struggle, and “Let’s roll!” became a phrase that brought goosebumps to me whenever I heard it.

We must not  forget the events of September 11, 2001. We must keep the images fresh in our memories. It’s necessary, I believe, if we’re to retain the resolve we need to understand, oppose, and defeat the ongoing Islamofascist effort to destroy our way of life, of which the attacks of 9/11 were a part.

We must not forget that there is a large, powerful, well-financed international movement dedicated to destroying Western Civilization.

On September 11, 2001, barbarians with box cutters — primitive 7th-century savages who could never build a World Trade Center or a 747, but whose insane ideology is dedicated to making the building of such things impossible — murdered 2,996 innocent people and changed Lower Manhattan from this:

Lady Liberty watching over the twin towers before 9/11

to this:

1st tower falls

Fleeing as the tower falls

Fleeing through the choking dust

Falling to his death

Some people have forgotten now
It was many years ago
And peaceful here at home since then
So just let the memory go
But I close my eyes and see it still
Like it was yesterday — Oh no!
People jumping from a hundred-story building!
I can still see those Americans
Jumping from a hundred-story building …

© 2009 Richard G. Combs. All rights reserved.


Never forget.

Flag still stands

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Never forget

Posted by Richard on September 11, 2011

Ten years ago this morning, we watched in horror as people jumped a thousand feet to their deaths because it was better than the alternative. Later that day, we learned that the heroic passengers of United Flight 93, knowing the fate that awaited them, had fought and died to prevent their plane from crashing into the White House or Capitol. In the ensuing days, we learned the details of that brave struggle, and "Let's roll!" became a phrase that brought goosebumps to me whenever I heard it. 

We must not  forget the events of September 11, 2001. We must keep the images fresh in our memories. It's necessary, I believe, if we're to retain the resolve we need to understand, oppose, and defeat the ongoing Islamofascist effort to destroy our way of life, of which the attacks of 9/11 were a part. 

We must not forget that there is a large, powerful, well-financed international movement dedicated to destroying Western Civilization.

On September 11, 2001, barbarians with box cutters — primitive 7th-century savages who could never build a World Trade Center or a 747, but whose insane ideology is dedicated to making the building of such things impossible — murdered 2,996 innocent people and changed Lower Manhattan from this: 

Lady Liberty watching over the twin towers before 9/11

to this:

1st tower falls

Fleeing as the tower falls

Fleeing through the choking dust

Falling to his death

 

Some people have forgotten now
It was many years ago
And peaceful here at home since then
So just let the memory go
But I close my eyes and see it still
Like it was yesterday — Oh no!
People jumping from a hundred-story building!
I can still see those Americans
Jumping from a hundred-story building …

© 2009 Richard G. Combs. All rights reserved.


 

Never forget.

Flag still stands

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Dreadful dust

Posted by Richard on September 11, 2011

For the last five years, as September 11 approached, I've reread Gerard Van der Leun's Of a Fire in a Field. It's mostly about the film United 93 and the heroes of that flight, and it's a beautifully written essay that I urge you to read (or reread) in its entirety.

But there's one passage about being in New York in the days after 9/11 that, after many repetitions, still tears me up inside like it did the first time I read it. 

Inside the wire under the hole in the sky was, in time, a growing hole in the ground as the rubble was cleared away and, after many months, the last fire was put out. Often at first, but with slowly diminishing frequency, all the work to clear out the rubble and the wreckage would come to a halt.

The machinery would be shut down and it would become quiet. Across the site, tools would be laid down and the workers would straighten up and stand still. Then, from somewhere in the pile or the pit, a group of men would emerge carrying a stretcher covered with an American flag and holding, if they were fortunate, a body. If they were not so fortunate the flag covering over the stretcher would be lumpy, holding only portions of a body from which, across the river on the Jersey shore, a forensic lab would try to make an identification and then pass on to the victim's survivors something that they could bury.

I'm not sure anymore about the final count, but I am pretty sure that most families, in the end, got nothing. Their loved ones had all gone into the smoke and the dust that covered the end of the island and blew, mostly, across the river into Brooklyn where I lived. What happened to most of the three thousand killed by the animals on that day? It is simple and ghastly. We breathed them until the rains came and washed clean what would never be clean again.

As I read that, my body tenses, it feels like there's a weight on my chest, and I find it hard to breathe, as if I too were inhaling that dreadful dust. 

It's a difficult experience. But I repeat it each year, sometimes two or three times. It never gets any easier, and it shouldn't. I think it's important to remember these things.

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Never forget

Posted by Richard on September 11, 2010

Nine years ago this morning, we watched in horror as people jumped a thousand feet to their deaths because it was better than the alternative. Later that day, we learned that the heroic passengers of United Flight 93, knowing the fate that awaited them, had fought and died to prevent their plane from crashing into the White House or Capitol. In the ensuing days, we learned the details of that brave struggle, and "Let's roll!" became a phrase that brought goosebumps to me whenever I heard it. 

Last night, I watched a compelling one-hour retrospective by Fox News that refreshed my memories of that day. It will be shown again later today (see my previous post), and I'll watch it again, and this time record it. It refreshed my memory in disturbing, but valuable, ways. No, those weren't bodies falling from the towers — they were living human beings with their arms and legs flailing as they fell. It's important, I think, that these details remain clear.

We must not let ourselves forget the events of September 11, 2001. We must keep the images fresh in our memories. It's necessary, I believe, if we're to retain the resolve we need to understand, oppose, and defeat the ongoing Islamofascist effort to destroy our way of life, of which the attacks of 9/11 were a part. 

I have nothing more to add to last year's 9/11 post, so with one minor edit, it appears again below.

Never forget that there is a large, powerful, well-financed international movement dedicated to destroying Western Civilization.

On September 11, 2001, barbarians with box cutters — primitive 7th-century savages who could never build a World Trade Center or a 747, but whose insane ideology is dedicated to making the building of such things impossible — murdered 2,996 innocent people and changed Lower Manhattan from this: 

Lady Liberty watching over the twin towers before 9/11

to this:

1st tower falls

Fleeing as the tower falls

Fleeing through the choking dust

Falling to his death

 

Some people have forgotten now
It was many years ago
And peaceful here at home since then
So just let the memory go
But I close my eyes and see it still
Like it was yesterday — Oh no!
People jumping from a hundred-story building!
I can still see those Americans
Jumping from a hundred-story building …

© 2009 Richard G. Combs. All rights reserved.


 

As I have on previous September 11ths, I offer you passage from Gerard Van der Leun's Of a Fire in a Field — a passage that moves me beyond words every time I read it — in which he recalled 9/11 and its aftermath, when he lived in New York:

Inside the wire under the hole in the sky was, in time, a growing hole in the ground as the rubble was cleared away and, after many months, the last fire was put out. Often at first, but with slowly diminishing frequency, all the work to clear out the rubble and the wreckage would come to a halt.

The machinery would be shut down and it would become quiet. Across the site, tools would be laid down and the workers would straighten up and stand still. Then, from somewhere in the pile or the pit, a group of men would emerge carrying a stretcher covered with an American flag and holding, if they were fortunate, a body. If they were not so fortunate the flag covering over the stretcher would be lumpy, holding only portions of a body from which, across the river on the Jersey shore, a forensic lab would try to make an identification and then pass on to the victim's survivors something that they could bury.

I'm not sure anymore about the final count, but I am pretty sure that most families, in the end, got nothing. Their loved ones had all gone into the smoke and the dust that covered the end of the island and blew, mostly, across the river into Brooklyn where I lived. What happened to most of the three thousand killed by the animals on that day? It is simple and ghastly. We breathed them until the rains came and washed clean what would never be clean again.

. . .

Read the whole thing — and think about the question he asks you at the end. 

And never forget.

Flag still stands

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9/11: Timeline of Terror

Posted by Richard on September 11, 2010

I just finished watching "9/11: Timeline of Terror" on Fox News, an uninterrupted hour-long recap of the events of September 11, 2001. I'm emotionally drained. But I'm so very glad I watched it. It will be shown again on Saturday at 3 PM and 9 PM Eastern (1 PM and 7 PM Mountain). I strongly encourage you to watch this powerful, moving program.

Nine years have passed. Memories have started to fade. Some of you reading this today may have been too young then to fully understand. Some of you may have never seen much of what is chronicled in this hour. The horrific scenes, the reactions of the people as they happened, the recollections of the survivors — this is compelling viewing. We owe it to ourselves to see this, whether it's again or for the first time. We owe it to ourselves to keep this fresh in our memories.  

Saturday at 3 PM and 9 PM Eastern (1 PM and 7 PM Mountain), the Fox News Channel. Watch it. Record it. Remember. 

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It’s not too late to build Twin Towers II

Posted by Richard on April 28, 2010

On this day in 2006, they broke ground for the "Freedom Tower" that's supposed to be built on the World Trade Center site, replacing the Twin Towers. Four years later, nothing has arisen from the hole in the ground. It's not too late to discard that unfortunate plan and do what the vast majority of New Yorkers and Americans everywhere want: rebuild new and better Twin Towers. The design exists. The money already allocated for the current going-nowhere project is sufficient to pay for it. As the Twin Towers Alliance noted, much of the work already done had to be done anyway and wouldn't be wasted.

Check out the 67-page booklet It's Not Too Late (PDF) for detailed information about the current plan, its inferiority to Twin Towers II, and the political mess that led to the current state of affairs.

Compare the current LMDC plan to the Twin Towers II plan. If, like most people, you strongly prefer updated, even grander twin towers and free, meaningful, above-ground memorials to Liebeskind's uninspiring obelisk and absurdly expensive (the price of one tower), mediocre underground memorials, please join me in supporting the continuing efforts of the Twin Towers Alliance.

It's not too late to do the right thing.

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Never forget

Posted by Richard on September 11, 2009

Never forget that there is a large, powerful, well-financed international movement dedicated to destroying Western Civilization.

Eight years ago today, barbarians with box cutters — primitive 7th-century savages who could never build a World Trade Center or a 747, but whose insane ideology is dedicated to making the building of such things impossible — murdered 2,996 innocent people and changed Lower Manhattan from this: 

Lady Liberty watching over the twin towers before 9/11

to this:

1st tower falls

Fleeing as the tower falls

Fleeing through the choking dust

Falling to his death

 

Some people have forgotten now
It was many years ago
And peaceful here at home since then
So just let the memory go
But I close my eyes and see it still
Like it was yesterday — Oh no!
People jumping from a hundred-story building!
I can still see those Americans
Jumping from a hundred-story building …

© 2009 Richard G. Combs. All rights reserved.


 

As I have on previous September 11ths, I offer you passage from Gerard Van der Leun's Of a Fire in a Field — a passage that moves me beyond words every time I read it — in which he recalled 9/11 and its aftermath, when he lived in New York:

Inside the wire under the hole in the sky was, in time, a growing hole in the ground as the rubble was cleared away and, after many months, the last fire was put out. Often at first, but with slowly diminishing frequency, all the work to clear out the rubble and the wreckage would come to a halt.

The machinery would be shut down and it would become quiet. Across the site, tools would be laid down and the workers would straighten up and stand still. Then, from somewhere in the pile or the pit, a group of men would emerge carrying a stretcher covered with an American flag and holding, if they were fortunate, a body. If they were not so fortunate the flag covering over the stretcher would be lumpy, holding only portions of a body from which, across the river on the Jersey shore, a forensic lab would try to make an identification and then pass on to the victim's survivors something that they could bury.

I'm not sure anymore about the final count, but I am pretty sure that most families, in the end, got nothing. Their loved ones had all gone into the smoke and the dust that covered the end of the island and blew, mostly, across the river into Brooklyn where I lived. What happened to most of the three thousand killed by the animals on that day? It is simple and ghastly. We breathed them until the rains came and washed clean what would never be clean again.

. . .

Read the whole thing — and think about the question he asks you at the end. 

And never forget.

Flag still stands

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Fly the flag September 11

Posted by Richard on September 11, 2009

September 11 is the eighth anniversary of the worst attack ever on U.S. soil, when many of us finally realized that a dangerous and implacable enemy had declared war on us years earlier and wasn't kidding.

September 11 is the eighth anniversary of the day that we watched in horror as people fell a hundred stories to the pavement and the skyline of Manhattan changed in a matter of hours.

September 11 is the eighth anniversary of the day that 2,996 innocent people were murdered by a small band of fanatical Islamofascists, and the world changed forever.

Remember September 11. Fly the flag.

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Never forget

Posted by Richard on September 11, 2008

Seven years ago today, barbarians with box cutters — primitive savages who could never build a World Trade Center or a 747, but whose insane ideology is dedicated to making the building of such things impossible — murdered 2,996 innocent people in pursuit of their war against Western Civilization.

Never forget that on September 10, 2001, Manhattan looked like this.

Lady Liberty watching over the twin towers before 9/11

Never forget that on September 11, 2001, Manhattan looked like this.

1st tower falls

Fleeing as the tower falls

Fleeing through the choking dust

Never forget that we watched people jump from hundred-story buildings to avoid an even worse fate.

Falling to his death

Never forget that we were wounded, but our spirit wasn’t broken. We’ve fought back. And we will win.

Raising the flag at Ground Zero

As I have each of the last two September 11ths, I offer you passage from Gerard Van der Leun’s Of a Fire in a Field — a passage that moves me beyond words every time I read it — in which he recalled 9/11 and its aftermath, when he lived in New York:

Inside the wire under the hole in the sky was, in time, a growing hole in the ground as the rubble was cleared away and, after many months, the last fire was put out. Often at first, but with slowly diminishing frequency, all the work to clear out the rubble and the wreckage would come to a halt.

The machinery would be shut down and it would become quiet. Across the site, tools would be laid down and the workers would straighten up and stand still. Then, from somewhere in the pile or the pit, a group of men would emerge carrying a stretcher covered with an American flag and holding, if they were fortunate, a body. If they were not so fortunate the flag covering over the stretcher would be lumpy, holding only portions of a body from which, across the river on the Jersey shore, a forensic lab would try to make an identification and then pass on to the victim’s survivors something that they could bury.

I’m not sure anymore about the final count, but I am pretty sure that most families, in the end, got nothing. Their loved ones had all gone into the smoke and the dust that covered the end of the island and blew, mostly, across the river into Brooklyn where I lived. What happened to most of the three thousand killed by the animals on that day? It is simple and ghastly. We breathed them until the rains came and washed clean what would never be clean again.

. . .

Read the whole thing — and think about the question he asks you at the end.

And never forget.

The flag still stands

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Fly the flag September 11

Posted by Richard on September 11, 2008

September 11 is the seventh anniversary of the worst attack ever on U.S. soil, when many of us finally realized that a dangerous and implacable enemy had declared war on us years earlier and wasn’t kidding.

September 11 is the seventh anniversary of the day that we watched in horror as people fell a hundred stories to the pavement and the skyline of Manhattan changed in a matter of hours.

September 11 is the seventh anniversary of the day that 2,996 innocent people were murdered by a small band of fanatical Islamofascists, and the world changed forever.

Remember September 11. Fly the flag.

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Rebuild the Twin Towers!

Posted by Richard on June 23, 2008

Via email from the Twin Towers Alliance:

Finally, there is an opportunity to change direction at Ground Zero. On May 25, 2008  the editor of the New York Post wrote: “No one seriously believes that the current schedule of construction deadlines is remotely achievable, and things are only getting worse.”  And just last Thursday, New York Post columnist Steve Cuozzo wrote: that “lots of what's going on is what real-estate developers derisively call ‘moving dirt around.’ The likelihood it will result in even a single component of the new WTC being finished on the 10th anniversary of 9/11, just over three years from now, is nil.”

The stage is set. We have a bright and independent new Governor of New York who wants to win election on his own in 2010 and a Governor in New Jersey who would love to distinguish himself. And they have the absolute power to do whatever they decide is best for the WTC. Governor Patterson recently appointed a new executive director at the Port Authority, a man who was on record from the start as not favoring the depressing “Reflecting Absence” memorial. And he has directed him to audit the entire site and report back by June 30th. Even the New York Times is noting that a fundamental correction is due. And we have been in touch with a number of key individuals behind the scenes who are on board and ready to speak out when the time comes.

But none of that would matter if it weren’t for the fact that the Twin Towers II plan is fully developed and ready to swap for the current boondoggle. The politicians could never abandon one plan without having another plan ready to go. The fact that there is a plan to restore our butchered skyline by 2011 is what makes this all possible.  When officials finally recognize that there is a way out of the mess they have made, they would have to be demented to pass on it. 

The Twin Towers II plan is ready to take all the time and energy that has gone into Ground Zero and convert it into soaring Twin Towers that WOULD be ready for the 10th anniversary. It includes a memorial, which has the support of many 9/11 families and that is a quantum leap in quality over the current design. And Ken Gardner even has a plan to recycle the materials that have been procured for the funereal “Freedom Tower” into the Deutsche Bank replacement – so waste will not become an issue.

The way the political landscape has changed over the past six months is truly miraculous. Rebuilding the Twin Towers is now less radical than continuing on the current course. There is no way to justify or redeem the current mess. So there really has never been such an opportune moment as is now upon us and The Twin Towers Alliance has prepared an extraordinary booklet that is going to leverage all the promising developments.  We will go to print this week and get it to the desks of well over 100 prominent individuals around the country. We fully expect it to be the catalyst for new Twin Towers.  When people see how far superior the Twin Tower II plan is to the current development, and they see the mailing list of names that will be attached, there will be no responsible way to ignore it.

There is NO doubt that this is going to open the eyes of a lot of these people and get them thinking and turning to their rolodexes. The very high quality presentation will cost around $25.00 apiece to print and mail, but there is no other way to do it right.  Once the mailing has gone out we will post a Flash copy of the booklet on the site as the pinnacle of all we have been striving to achieve. We know that no one will be disappointed.

This is by far the most important broadcast The Twin Towers Alliance has ever sent out. We have sent out very few fundraising emails in the past so we think our credibility should be pretty high. There is a real opportunity for each of you to rebuild the Towers by clicking here or on the banner below to donate. This is the culmination of all our efforts, so please think carefully about how much you can afford to help – especially if you have never contributed in the past.  The Twin Towers II plan is 115 stories high and for a donation of $115 we will send the donor a booklet, which we expect will become a collector’s item. Rebuilding the Twin Towers is just as momentous for every one of you as it is for us.  

Finally, we want to acknowledge all the inspirational email messages that are sent in and to say that we only wish we could answer them all. But we are sincerely grateful for the moral support and read every one.

There is something magical about the possibilities before us. Please help us make the most of them. We vow, pledge, promise, and swear to do everything humanly possible to channel your support into a World Trade Center worthy of the name.

Thank you and best wishes,

Margaret Donovan and Richard Hughes

for The Twin Towers Alliance

THE WORLD IS WATCHING

Contribute to Twin Towers Alliance

 

Minoru Yamasaki, architect of the World Trade Center: "World trade means world peace and consequently the World Trade Center… is a living symbol of man's dedication to world peace… a representation of man's belief in humanity, his need for individual dignity, his beliefs in the cooperation of men, and through cooperation, his ability to find greatness." Please join me in supporting this effort to restore that symbol.

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Barnett on 9/11

Posted by Richard on September 12, 2007

Dean Barnett:

I WASN’T PLANNING ON POSTING A 9/11 reminiscence today.  I wrote a lot of them back in the day, and I didn’t think I had anything fresh to say.  Whatever I wrote today about 9/11 was going to stay between me and my hard drive.  Then a few hours ago I got a letter from a Cantor Fitzgerald employee.  It brought back memories of the day.  Suddenly saying nothing about 9/11, especially on a day when so many Senators are talking about al Qaeda as part of a lame attempt to score partisan political points, seemed inappropriate.

Read. The. Whole. Thing. 

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Never forget

Posted by Richard on September 11, 2006

Lady Liberty watching over the twin towers before 9/11
 

On this anniversary, no words I write could match what Gerard Van der Leun wrote several months ago when United 93 came out. I described it thus:

Nothing else I’ve read comes close to Gerard Van der Leun’s Of a Fire in a Field. I first read it several days ago and was unable to even write about it. I’ve read it several times now, and the impact is still powerful. I don’t recall anything that has ever moved me more.

In the passage that moved me beyond words, and that I quote again today, Van der Leun recalled 9/11 and its aftermath, when he lived in New York:

Inside the wire under the hole in the sky was, in time, a growing hole in the ground as the rubble was cleared away and, after many months, the last fire was put out. Often at first, but with slowly diminishing frequency, all the work to clear out the rubble and the wreckage would come to a halt.

The machinery would be shut down and it would become quiet. Across the site, tools would be laid down and the workers would straighten up and stand still. Then, from somewhere in the pile or the pit, a group of men would emerge carrying a stretcher covered with an American flag and holding, if they were fortunate, a body. If they were not so fortunate the flag covering over the stretcher would be lumpy, holding only portions of a body from which, across the river on the Jersey shore, a forensic lab would try to make an identification and then pass on to the victim’s survivors something that they could bury.

I’m not sure anymore about the final count, but I am pretty sure that most families, in the end, got nothing. Their loved ones had all gone into the smoke and the dust that covered the end of the island and blew, mostly, across the river into Brooklyn where I lived. What happened to most of the three thousand killed by the animals on that day? It is simple and ghastly. We breathed them until the rains came and washed clean what would never be clean again.

. . .

As I did back in May, on this anniversary, I urge you to read the whole thing — and think about the question he asks you at the end.

The final count, apparently, is 2,626 at the WTC and 2,996 total. The latter number is also the name of a website and a fine idea for a tribute:

2,996 is a tribute to the victims of 9/11.

On September 11, 2006, 2,996 volunteer bloggers
will join together for a tribute to the victims of 9/11.
Each person will pay tribute to a single victim.

We will honor them by remembering their lives,
and not by remembering their murderers.

I really meant to sign up for this effort, but other events made me forget. Not to worry — there was no shortage of volunteers. In fact, the list is oversubscribed (more than 3400 bloggers participating), so some victims have more than one blogger paying tribute.

Here’s the entire list of links to the tributes. Take a few moments today to read just a few, won’t you?

And never forget.

First tower falls
Fleeing through the choking dust

 

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