Tonight I’m Mewed Up To my Heaviness

It was a clear and bright morning

It was a clear and bright morning

It was a crystal clear morning in the Rocky Mountains.  The air was still warm enough, but had that crisp feel that foretells coming snow storms.  I was thirty seven years old.  The boys were ten and six.  I walked them to school through the bright, cool morning.  Dan had left for the week the day before (he had a traveling job.  I called them the Marines of Programming.  When someone had an insoluble problem, they were called in to solve it.  That week he was in DC.) I was late according to my own schedule (not the publisher’s) on Any Man So Daring.  I walked the kids to school, waited till the little one went in.  I was re-reading Pol Anderson’s Operation Chaos in a beat up paperback I carried in the pocket of my jeans.  So I waited till the younger one went in, reading my book. Then I walked back home enjoying the morning — that beautiful September morning, with only a touch of future frost.

I’d got on the net — our TV reception was awful — and read yahoo news (I think.  I hadn’t found instapundit, yet) and read that  a plane had struck the tower.  I thought it was a small plane and a stupid accident.  I felt vaguely sorry, but…

I stopped in the kitchen to make coffee.  And the phone rang.  This wasn’t alarming.  My friend Rebecca Lickiss was also a stay at home mom/writer, and in those days when the internet was still dial up, we often called each other in the morning to discuss a plot point, or tell the other about this cool idea we’d had.

But when I answered the phone, Becky was crying.  She said “Turn on the TV!”  I said “I can’t get anything on the TV.  What is it?”  And she said “A plane has struck the towers.”  I said “Oh, that?” She said “TURN ON THE TV.”

So I did and watched through the fuzzy reception.

And we entered the wrong leg of the trousers of time.

First let me say, it could have been worse.  How?  Oh, it could have been worse in many ways, but the most notably worse for the country would have been if this had been domestic terrorism.  If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you don’t remember those days.  In the aftermath of the 2000 election, the “progressives” who had been counting on Gore as a sure thing were so… unhinged (I thought) that I thought at first it had been a left-plot, some sort of attack.  I was almost relieved when I heard it was an Arab hit.

I’ve told the story before.  I didn’t know if Dan was dead or alive for hours, because this was a new job and I didn’t know where he was (nowhere near the pentagon, but in DC, it turned out.) My friend Charles came over because he worked in what passes for a tall building around here, and they sent him home.

Was I scared?  I was scared.  Not of the terrorists, though.  This week’s trifecta discusses that.  My reaction to the terrorists was defiance.  I tried to paint a banner.  It didn’t work.  It was supposed to say:

No refuge could save the hireling and slave From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave. 

But I had to paint it on plastic (it was all I had on hand) and it wasn’t really legible.  I got my twin towers t-shirt acquired in our second honeymoon the year before, and wore it.

But I was scared.  Not of the terrorists.

Listening to Osama talk about how we were filled with fear just made me want to punch him in his dumb face.

But those among us who were scared and would rather do anything rather than admit they were scared.  Those, always too inclined to hate their own countrymen and to think themselves superior to all of humanity by the force of their disdain — them I was afraid of.

And I was right.  Just like when they were afraid of communism and therefore would justify anything communists did to the point of acting as a fifth column in our midst, they became apologists for the enemy, blamers of their brethren.  They’ve spent the last thirteen years bleating that it’s all our fault, because that’s an easier pill to swallow than the idea they were wrong.

I was wrong back then too, btw.  On that beautiful September day, I was an internationalist Libertarian, well-nigh an anarchist.  When the towers fell my wishful thinking fell with them, my blind certainty that other people were just as much in love with peace as we were, and that they wouldn’t attack us for no reason (or simply because our very existence puts the lie to their cherished beliefs.)

Am I better for it?  Ah!

I’m more grown up for it.  I think my understanding of the world is better.  It’s also darker.

My youth fell to the ground on that September day.  My utopian folly jumped with those poor people with no other way out of the towers. My ridiculous — but pleasant — assurance that I knew what was best for everyone else is gone.

And I’ve watched my country turn on itself.  I watched the dreadful fruit of the Soviet union propaganda and of the counterculture of the sixties blossom into where we are now: our allies betrayed, the blood of our compatriots wasted, threatened on all sides.

I’ve watched 9/11/12 be swept under the rug like someone who is slapped while he’s tied down and can’t respond.

Am I afraid?

Ah!

No, I am not afraid.  I am sad.

I feel like we fell down the wrong leg of the pants of time and I’d give everything I have and something besides to go back to that crisp September morning, to come home, to make coffee, go up to my office and pound out five thousand words on Any Man So Daring, to wait for Dan’s call that night, and talk about the cats and the kids’ homework.  To never get that phone call that says “turn on the TV” because there would have been nothing special happening.  I’d give everything I have to unring that bell.

In that other world — in the other leg of the pants of time — none of those  people died.  The towers stand as they did when I first flew into New York as a newly arrived immigrant.  And I’m probably still a political idiot, but a political idiot who laughs more often and who has some really delightful illusions.

We can’t get there.  Even if parallel worlds exist, that is not our world.  Here in the present, I’m older and sadder and I feel betrayed by the administration and those who enable it.

Here in the real world there’s a lot of work to do.  Those of our own who turned on us after 9/11 might or might not wake up.  And those who took the opportunity of the crisis to plunge a dagger in our back in the name of their own utopian dreams won’t stop.

The best we can do is work against the forces of destruction.  Build up.  Build around.  Build through.  Be ready when they collapse.

 

Here, in this pantleg of time, we have a heck of a job ahead of us.

But not tonight.  Tonight I say a prayer for all those Americans who are gone — in the towers and in the battlefields.

On the twelfth we resume the fight.  On the day after tomorrow we resume working, with clear eyes towards the best world that can be obtained from where we are.  Not the shiny world of my fantasies, but perhaps a better one that works for real humans.

But tonight?  Tonight and tomorrow I cry for the lost.

And for just a moment — the briefest of moments — I imagine I can reach back and be in that world, in that unclouded September morning, with the towers gleaming bright in the sunlight and all our troubles so far away and yet with the frost already in the air.

On 9/12 I will resume work towards the world I want to leave my children.

And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

272 responses to “Tonight I’m Mewed Up To my Heaviness

  1. I’m afraid something is planned for today. I hope I’m wrong.

    • CombatMissionary

      If something’s planned, I’m in my uniform and on duty. Let’s sharpen our tomahawks and say some prayers. Fight the Huns and their enablers. God bless.

    • Me too. But, so far so good, right?

    • I have to admit that were I such an enemy, I’d plan an attack for a few days *after* the anniversary — wait for everybody to let out the held breath and relax, as it were, and *then* strike.

      On the other hand, that is the mindset of someone more concerned with tactical effectiveness than symbolic effectiveness, and the symbolism is a critical part of the jihadist mentality. So God bless all those on guard against malice and violence today.

      • The original World Trade Center bombing had been at the end of February 1993.

        The Spanish train bombings took place on 3/11 (’04). The London bus and subway attacks occurred on 7/7 and 7/21 (’05).

        • I have read articles speculating that part of the reason September 11 was chosen was because it was regarded as a date of ignominy for Islam, namely the date of the Battle of Vienna — the loss of which is considered to mark the beginning of the Ottoman Empire’s, and Islam’s in general, decline. That may have been pure coincidence, but I was wondering if 3/11, 7/7 and 7/21 have any similar symbolism attached.

          • I think the date was chosen simply because that was when they were ready. We obsess over reasons for timing to little avail. Especially since the Islamic calendar is based on a year of 354 days. This isn’t _their_ anniversary.

            • I saw a discussion a few years ago – on Rantburg, maybe? Or the site that dare not mention it’s name any more – that theorized the attack may have been intended to launch on the following Tuesday. The reasoning was that was Rosh Hashanah was celebrated on that day – September 18th – when even not particularly devout Jews would have taken a holiday. Some clever internet observer noted that the story about so many thousands of Jews weren’t at work in the WTC seemed to have come out of nowhere the week after the September 11 attack. The theory was that the story of the Jews not being at work had been pre-set for automatic release on September 18th to coincide with the hijacking of the airliners, but at the last minute the attack itself was moved up a week, and the automatic release of the absent Jews story couldn’t be withdrawn.
              I’ve always wondered if that was so – that the WTC/Pentagon attack was intended for September 18th.

              • Could be, but I suspect that such a tiny shred of logic was not needed for the story to be manufactured.

                As it happens, there are extra morning prayers (selichot) said for approximately a week before Rosh Hashanah, and there were apparently a handful of people who came to the office those critical few minutes late. It’s even possible their salvation was expanded into the larger legend—but see the previous paragraph.

      • My sister and I were discussing the other evening. We both agreed the security was too high on the anniversary.

        I said .. hit the day before or a few days later.

        She said .. Christmas day, one of the high Christian Holy Days.

        I said .. Thanksgiving, Herald Square at 11:50. Destroy something with emotional ties to several generations of Americans that is being broadcast across the nation.

        Yeah, we’re kinda scary when we get to thinking along those lines.

        • It’s a common mindset in the military. We used to plot all the ways that a ship could be disabled or destroyed, and this was well before the bombing of the USS Cole. I imagine every enlisted man in every weapons department of the US Navy saw that day as inevitable. And 9/11… it’s not the past actions you have to worry about happening again. It’s the next fresh horror. And those at war always display amazing creativity.

  2. “But those among us who were scared and would rather do anything rather than admit they were scared. Those, always too inclined to hate their own countrymen and to think themselves superior to all of humanity by the force of their disdain — them I was afraid of.”

    While I am a little afraid of those (always fear a cornered coward more than a brave man, for there is no predicting what the coward will do) but mainly what I felt for those then and still do now, is anger. A jaw clenching, fist tightening, red haze of anger that must be fought down before I see that tearing such despicable excuses for humanity limb from limb isn’t the best answer to the problem. And some days even after the anger is fought down, I’m still not sure it wouldn’t be the best answer.

    I tend to turn sadness into anger, but for today I am thankful for the reminder that today is a day to pray for the fallen, and all those we still stand and fight for the cause of liberty.

    • I put ‘troofers’ in the ‘rather do anything than admit they were scared’ class.

      • Had an acquaintance (definitely not a ‘friend’ – she was so much superior to everyone around her that we should have simply worshipped her. Prog, of course…) who emailed me in a panic since I was military/reserves wondering what she should do.

        I told her to sit tight, and wait and see what actually happens. She was afraid the US would be attacked again, with nukes and anthrax and and and…

        Within a month, she was going on about how it was the US’s fault, and how we were going to be the bad guys beating up on innocent Muslims who are really peaceful, and we shouldn’t use the word Muslim in the first place because it was derogatory and and and… WE were the bad guys.

        Finally just said “Hell with it. Good luck to ya.” Still see traces of her on-line, she used to hang out on Scalzi’s blog, still as smug and self-congratulatory as ever.

        They still haven’t figured out that there’s people who simply hate us and would destroy us because we’re not them.

        • “because we’re not them.”
          And I would add, because the simple fact that we in the West exist and prosper puts a lie to the very foundation of their own beliefs.

          • They don’t care about the prosperity. They were attacking before. 9/11 was the date when the battle started that turned them back from Vienna.

            • True, they don’t care so much about the prosperity per se, what really ticks them off is that we accomplish it without a strict adherence to Sharia. That and the ugly truth that with all that lovely oil money rolling in they still have not achieved world domination.

          • I sort of agree. I used to be on an explicitly multinational bus. e-mail list. Singapore, IIRC, came up as a question about “isolationist thinking,” and prosperity (this was in about 1999/2000). I said, at the time, “They can’t win.” (Meaning that you can’t make isolationism work today.)
            Radical, Fundamentalist, Muslims *fear* any society that works, and isn’t run by them. That “Fear” is expressed as “hate,” for one reason. As long as even the *concept* that their system is “less than perfect,” they can’t win. Their “system” like that of Marxist-Leninism (in all its variations) is not just unworkable, it is self destructive. It perverts Human Nature, and tries to control it. In order for any such “system” to work, there absolutely cannot be an alternative.
            Even the _knowledge_ that such a system ever existed, cannot be permitted. There must be absolute, unquestioning obedience to the “leaders/managers of that system.” (That’s why I said, it “perverts Human Nature.”) RF Islam cannot exist in a world where information can spread, or where there is the possibility of “going somewhere else.” That’s why “women not allowed to be educated, or allowed ‘freedom’ of any kind.” Of necessity, there can be no communication with *any* outside influence. A control that is impossible in today’s world. Money can go anywhere, in the blink of an eye. North Korea, the M-L equivalent of RF Islam, is slowly decaying, held together by the North Korean mindset, of “trust no one outside the ‘family.'” It developed due to the waves of overlords, coming from China, and other Asian countries.
            As Tom Kratman pointed out, Arabs, by and large, are still a family/tribe based society. NK is less family, and more tribal, but the same mindset. Any “outside” influence, is “corrupting, and must be destroyed.” Especially if it shows a system working better (or at all), in the light of failures by the current system. Most Arabic countries are not “successful,” by any rational, sustainable standard. They are “propped up,” by oil income; Therefore, any “competing” system must be destroyed. Even the most fanatical religious person, seeing their children dying of starvation, wants to see them fed. Lacking any other option, they will “do whatever it takes” to get the necessary food. Even if it means destroying the means of getting further food.
            As long as people think that this ‘mindset” can be “reasoned” with, controlled, or otherwise “put off,” it will grow and destroy. Like Cancer, it either grows, or it dies. It is, in the truest sense of the word, a “parasitic system.” It destroys the “host,” in order to “grow.” That’s why the way it’s being fought, isn’t “working.”

            • I like that line of thought, in regard to Islam. A discussion of the economics of Nazi Germany came up at Chicagoboyz a while ago; can’t remember who brought it up or the expert to cite – but the economy was based on conquest, absorbing the means of production, and enslaving large numbers of laborers to run it. Reading about the Muslim caliphate as it existed before being beaten back in the 17th and 18th centuries – it was the same principle, only in slower motion. It was an expansionist entity that depended on expansion, into new territories, and exploiting new slave populations – and on milking them dry before moving on. The caliphate and Nazi Germany had to keep moving and feeding to survive

              • Hopefully we will beat the would-be Caliphate as badly as we did the Nazis. Unfortunately it may take as long as the Reconquista did.

                • Alas, very likely it will. But I am a Jacksonian-American, and so is my daughter, and likely any descendants that I will have. The fight for our culture and way of life will likely be long, and full of disappointments and reversals, but it is one which simply has to be fought on all fronts, cultural and physical.

                  I don’t relish the thought of having to wear a burka, or having to always be accompanied by a male relative. Neither does my daughter. Here we stand, paraphrasing Martin Luther – we can hardly do otherwise,

                • Where O where is our Charles Martel?

              • So.. ultimately, it will become a battle between the rest of the world and Islam, and in order for the threat of Islam to be defeated, it needs to be destroyed, because their way of life is that of the parasite, the leech, the Morlocks and Eloi.

                *sad, tired sigh*

                And realizing that makes *us* the ones who hate?

                • Certainly not! Keep in mind the British during the Battle of Britain. They took pasting after from the Germans but triumphed in the end.

                • mikeweatherford

                  You’re thinking a two-sided confrontation, but the actual situation on the ground is more a three-way or even four-way battle. It’s not just “us” versus “them”, but also the behind-the-scenes battle of enablers (Russia, N. Korea), interference with any society considered “different” (Euroweenies, Chinese), and even conflict within each of the various groups (left/right, Shi’ite/Sunni, Russian/Chinese, south/north, etc.). There are far too many people in this world who think “I’ll do anything I can to see that our side wins”, even if it ends up resulting in huge losses to both sides — losses that probably could have been avoided. That’s just one of many reasons BHO is so much the wrong person to be President during these times — especially since he doesn’t recognize the problem.

                  • Well, actually I do see it as a multi-sided confrontation with the battle also ongoing within with the enablers and interferers you mentioned, as well as the external threat.

                    That’s what has me depressed. And yes, agree on why 0bama is very much the wrong President to have – though that would be true regardless of what era we have.

        • *Laughs* Jerry, I suspect I know exactly who you’re referring to. Interesting to hear that her reaction, in the hour of chaos and panic, was to call a ‘military personage’ (possibly the only one she knew on a name basis).

        • They still haven’t figured out that there’s people who simply hate us and would destroy us because we’re not them.

          Of course people like your former acquaintance haven’t figured it out; that would require admitting that they simply hate the rest of us, their countrymen, and would destroy us because we’re not them.

          They attack us because they aren’t really afraid of us, rather than attacking their true enemies.

          Appeasers always save their enmity for those of us who won’t pretend don’t imagine our foes appeasible.

          • I thought appeasers attacked people they knew wouldn’t hurt them.

          • I don’t even think it’s ‘hate’ so much – they dislike us because we’re in their way when they’re attempting to create their perfect world. THEY know they’re so much smarter than the masses. THEY look down on the folks who actually produce the things that they use, that they eat, that they wear, and keep the lights on. It’s a weird mix of dislike and distain, topped by a feeling of superiority because ‘THEY’ are self-evidently so much better, because they went to X college and got a degree in Y, despite never having really worked because of Daddy’s trust fund.

            THEY know how the world works, you see. Despite a complete lack of real-world experience.

            Anyone telling them different is just a hater.

            • Well, duh. How could anyone oppose their wonderful wonderfulness and marvelous marvelousness? Only a kulak and wrecker.

  3. On 9/10/01, I finished a freelance piece and was waiting on payment.
    On 9/10/01, I believed that the middle way was working.
    On 9/11/01, i couldn’t sleep because my roomate had left the TV blaring in the living room. I got up in time to see (a replay) of the first tower falling.

    I think that was when i really turned more towards conservatism. Especially in the following months, when the liberal politicians and their PR department were going back to talking about how we could just negotiate it away…. including the new junior Senator from New York, whose husband could have taken out the mastermind behind those attacks and possibly prevented their occurrence.

    Having read parts of the Quran, I knew what the hadiths said, and i knew that it was a standard teaching that later hadiths superseded earlier ones. I understood that the ‘religion of peace’ became ‘convert at the point of a sword’ as Mohammed built up his literal army of followers. I just kept hoping they would realize how we would respond if they really angered us.

    And i am sorry, they didn’t really anger us. Our reaction to 9/11/01 was ‘a mite miffed’ compared to what we would do it truly angered. I know it sounds a bit sadistic, but proof of that can be found by the lack of radiation suits in both Mecca and Medina.

    • I was leaning fairly conservative already, but… this was for me the start of my road to really start looking at Islam. It took me a few years, and when I came to the realization that such unrelenting hate existed masked as a religion, I was quietly – and not so quietly – in pain at my innocent idealism shattering. But I would not return to that innocence, that naiveté, ever. I do not desire it nor do I long for it.

      And yes, the proof that America did not react as angrily as it should have – it forgave, still, perhaps, to it’s detriment in the long run, we’ll see – is that Saudi Arabia’s holiest site hasn’t been turned into a radioactive craters of glass.

      Sadly that tolerance is why we will have battlefields on our homefronts... the willingness to tolerate what should not be tolerated, is going to cost more innocent life and I think, eventually rob us all of a safe place to be free.

      Yeah, my view of the world is far darker now.

      • I think we will be turning Mecca into a glass bowl before it’s all over.

        • Maybe, but I sadly wonder what the cost will be before we get to that point, y’know?

          • It will be high. Right now my oldest son is on a MEU that is scheduled to be going to that area of the world. The last I heard from him they were leaving Malaysia and headed west.

          • William O. B'Livion

            General Mattis is an awesome human being, and he once said:

            I come in peace. I didn’t bring artillery. But I’m pleading with you, with tears in my eyes: If you fuck with me, I’ll kill you all.

            When it is one to one, when it’s a single person you’re talking about you can know whether they need killing or not. They always have the option of putting down the gun, or dropping their hands and walking away. That they don’t, that they put themselves in a position where you have to kill them is their choice.

            When you’re dealing with a crowd, a town, a nation or a region there will always be people who not only don’t need killing, but don’t deserve it. Morally you *have* to give them the option of peace.

            To do this you need to SO MUCH BETTER at violence, at war than they are. We’re not quite there, and they certainly don’t believe we’re there.

            The cost *will* be high, but it has to be.

            • That they don’t, that they put themselves in a position where you have to kill them is their choice.

              YES.

              And how I hate the PC-SJW braindead morons who blame the person DEFENDING themselves. Or the nation defending their people.

              Speaking of … props to this great and awesome old fella… and I’m hoping he doesn’t get in trouble, since this supposedly happened in Britain somewhere.
              http://www.news.com.au/world/gung-ho-grandad-goes-to-town-on-gang-who-tried-to-rob-his-house/story-fndir2ev-1227049868526

            • CombatMissionary

              We’re far better at violence. We’re not nearly as good at hate over millennia.

              Which probably makes the Son of God a little bit happy about us.

            • This is my favorite recent quote about war, because it expresses what should be the American ideal: you are free to do whatever you like, right up to the point where it harms me, and I am then free to do whatever I have to to make sure you can’t harm me again. In practice, though, it has been more like “Please don’t hurt me, scary person. And if you do, I’ll give you another chance to show me you won’t do it again.” America should not approach the world like an abused spouse.

              • Wayne Blackburn

                In practice, though, it [American Policy] has been more like “Please don’t hurt me, scary person. And if you do, I’ll give you another chance to show me you won’t do it again.” America should not approach the world like an abused spouse.

                THAT is probably my favorite statement in recent years, right there.

    • They really angered ME. Not our idiots in charge, no.

      • I intentionally keep myself calm and busy with things today lest the anger rise again.

        • Cleaning and function test on the firearms is good for that. Remember it is the duty on every citizen capable of doing so to be ready to muster with a weapon of infantry use for the defense of the Republic.

    • My son’s unit was stationed in Kuwait at the time. His wife(expecting) was staying with us, but was working at a place close to where I was working. When it hit the news, I left work and went to her work location, because I knew she would need a hug.
      I was not shocked, it was something that was going to happen – we became too complacent as a nation, while the ocean barrier was reduced from days to hours.

  4. I didn’t have a computer, or internet, so I still watched television quite a lot. That day I turned it on to see the five o’clock news, and the first plane had already struck, the second one was maybe about to (or had, but they hadn’t gotten that news yet in the newsroom, because what I do remember well is that in the first news they talked about one plane and one tower, and the time difference between New York and Finland is about six or seven hours if I remember right.)

    After that there was continuous coverage, and I kept watching, that day, the next day… as often as I could and there was material to watch. I don’t remember feeling scared, although I did wonder if it might be one of those incidents which end with large scale war (after it started to look like it wasn’t domestic terrorism… I seem to remember the idea of foreign terrorists was already aired later in that day, at the very least early the next morning – well, morning here – although I am not sure). I think I almost hoped it might, because whoever had done it, and whoever had supported the doers, should be flattened.

    And I think I have always been a bit disappointed that they weren’t. I did read what Jerry Pournelle had suggested doing years later, once I got internet, and I still think that might have been an excellent response.

    Those people who danced in the streets in some countries presumably still count it as an excellent win. Why wouldn’t they?

    Instead we got restricted and bound here, in western countries, and by our own. All in the name of security.

    I am not scared. I am still angry. That strike may have happened in United States, but the ones who did it see all of us in the west in the same light, and whatever safety my own country may have from them is based mostly on the fact that we are small and peripheral and not particularly important, a strike here would not get the attention striking in one of your big cities does. So any sense of security some of the idiots here may feel, or try to achieve by acting nice because they think they are acting right by staying away from your ‘warmongering’ (and that you were hit because you are evil imperialists…) and by trying to behave in a most conciliatory manner towards those people who attacked are exactly that, idiots.

  5. I was online, like you thought it was a small plane, and got offline. I had just been laid off the Friday before, and didn’t want bad news.

    Then my sister called me from work and told me to turn on the TV.

    I think I watched 5 minutes, total, of TV that day. Couldn’t take any more.

    My mother, when her chemistry students came in and thought they would drop chemistry for talking about it, told them they were doing redox equations — which you need to understand to build bombs.

    • I didn’t hear about the plane in Pennsylvania on the news. Jerry Pournelle posted something in a newsgroup that had been forwarded from the father of one man involved. We were posting things like, Jerry, have you contacted the news outlets?

      The odd thing was that I remember the first news of the plane crash was like all the other random oddments of things that might be part.

      • My father was in Colorado teaching a class. On Friday, sure, the airports were open, but he did have a rental car. Because of a lack of questions, he left 10am on Friday and arrived in Connecticut mid-afternoon Sunday.

        • I have long wondered about the very obvious story which has not been told of that week after the Towers were destroyed. It is extremely easy to set up and just allow the characters to go: pock a half dozen or so representative Americans, stranded by the air travel shut down, and have them rent a van to drive home across the country. Let the conversation, the anger, the sorrow, the fear, the empathy, the arguments flow naturally from the classic (some would call it cliched) assemblage of strangers in close quarters.

          David Mamet could probably direct it as Improv. Heck, Robin Williams could have done it as a one man show.

          Or just make it a couple, maybe newly met, maybe in a long-standing relationship, struggling to grasp the change in their world.

          It doesn’t have to be profound, just honest.

          For the life of me I cannot understand why this has not been done as a movie.

    • I had been laid off the Friday before, BTW. That was not a wise timing on my part.

  6. I’ve been waiting to wake up from this nightmare for 13 years now.

    The horrible part isn’t the terrorist attack. Ever since Munich, if not the fall of Constantinople, we’ve known that Islam is a savage, violent religion which cannot coexist with the rest of humanity. (Sorry, bumper-sticker people.)

    No, the horrible part has been watching my fellow Americans blame Bush, blame America, blame Christianity, blame everyone except the people responsible. Watching them actively oppose our efforts to fight back and punish the wrongdoers. Watching them actively help the savages destroy us.

    And, worst of all, watching them succeed.

    • They’re too self-centered to see what they’re doing. It’s all political gamesmanship to them – they’d sell their grandmothers’ organs to get an advantage. (And I ain’t talkin’ the musical type, either.)

      • and so we get a “Womans Rights” feminist organization supporting the misogynists in Hamas and others in the horrendous religion.
        morons

        • Supporting organizations which would gladly kill them. What, really, does that say about their thinking? (Or lack thereof?)

          • I think this tops that. Gay AND Jewish. And pro-Hamas in support, and anti-Israel.

            /double facepalm
            Oi vey… The whole lot of them, messhuggeneh…!

            • I honestly can’t understand that thinking. “They profess they want to kill me because I’m gay. And they profess they want to kill me because I’m Jewish. So… Double negative, they don’t want to kill me at all, so I should support them!” Could that be it? WTF?

            • That particular friend I occasionally complain about here (because she supports things like total gun bans wholeheartedly) is Jewish. It’s not her personal religion, but it’s her family heritage.

              One reason why I find her stance so exasperating sometimes. The fact that she does not profess the religion herself would not matter to those who would gladly kill her just because she descends from people who did. And she can’t see, or refuses to see, that everything she supports are the same things which last century made the extermination camps and taking her people to them possible.

              I do feel like smacking her occasionally. Especially since otherwise she can be pretty damn sharp.

              • Wayne Blackburn

                OIPs (Otherwise Intelligent People) irritate me more than the totally clueless. I always feel that if it were just explained to them sufficiently, they would get it, but often, their worldview just gets in the way.

                • Oh yes. With her there are lots of things she is willing to look at and study and even change her mind if the evidence seems to point that way. But this particular subject… Well, she does seem to have the whole ‘guns as magic’ worldview – that because guns have been made to kill people, carrying one might make otherwise ‘safe’ people turn into somebody dangerous. Or maybe she thinks that mostly only somehow already deranged people would carry (the nutso rednecks alternative). Or a combination of both. Guns can turn even civilized people into nutso rednecks?

                  And maybe it’s also some sort of safety blanket thing. Maybe she just feels safer if she insists that something like that could not happen here and now because NOW we are finally too civilized, and in order to believe that she also has to believe stuff like that we no longer need guns for self defense, and because of that it’s okay to take them away from everybody because nobody really needs them now, but there may be some nuts around who’d want one just for whatever, and even if they would be fairly safe otherwise getting one might make them kill – if not on purpose then just because those people are so stupid, and reckless, and stupid and so they kill by mistake or let their kids find their guns – because it’s so easy with something which has been made for killing but if you take all the guns away they can no longer find one and are then again fairly safe…

                  And we are back to that magical thinking again.

                  *sigh*

                  • In other words, they can’t get past seeing guns only as a symbol, a symbol of the violence they fear. So, get rid of the symbol, and maybe the boogie man disappears too.

                    Well, there is of course the other alternative, people who want power, think they could maybe get it themselves or at least as members of the right group and because of that do not want their potential subjects armed. But I really do think they are more of a minority, and the bigger group is those who have bought the idea of guns=violence, get rid of one and you get rid of both ones. The useful idiots.

                  • “Maybe she just feels safer if she insists that something like that could not happen here and now because NOW we are finally too civilized”

                    Forget guns. G.K. Chesterton skewered the problem when he had some medieval reenactors set out to capture a group of people.

                    “The man says he won’t go on wearing a sword because it is no longer any good against a gun. Then he throws away all the guns as relics of barbarism; and then he is surprised when a barbarian sticks him through with a sword. You say that pikes and halberds are not weapons against modern conditions. I say pikes are excellent weapons against no pikes. You say it is all antiquated medieval armament. But I put my money on men who make medieval armament against men who only disapprove of modern armament.”

              • _I_ think that it’s a case of not really believing that they “mean” it. Most seem to have, at best, a loose concept of religion. Sort of a “Sunday morning,” light. An “It’s the thing to do,” not out of any real belief; Therefore, they can’t conceive of any person/group actually motivated by such thoughts. Since they “don’t really mean it,” the “idiot” (with apologies to real idiots) can “support and encourage them.” Their “superiority” is so “self obvious” that they believe it “protects” them. Many Holocaust victims went to their deaths, _still_ not believing that it was happening. Just as there are apologists for Pol Pot/Mao/Stalin/etc. who deny that all of that “really happened.

                • This fits with the whole “forcing nuns to pay for abortions” thing, too; if your view of religion is more “I am a model train fanatic,” you’re going to have major issues with those who view it as an life philosophy.

                  • There is something I don’t get about this whole thing. How does someone not get “They’re willing to kill themselves because of their beliefs.” ? I don’t remember hearing of any model train fan threatening to blow up a model store for having something in the display window that was wrong.

                    I’m assuming it is a function of self. If there isn’t anything that you’re willing to kill or die for, how would you understand the motivations of someone who is?

                    • And here we circle back to our different interpretations of the song “Imagine”.

                    • They don’t really want to, they’re forced into it? Because society? Or something?

                      No get.

                    • Or these murderers and suicide bombers and other terrorists are not _really_ doing it for ideology but because they have become depressed or are otherwise mentally some way impaired, and the main reason for that _has_ to be our western society which makes them feel marginalized and repressed and mistreated, so if we fix that these mistreated groups of people will no longer have individuals for whom this cruel world has been cruel enough to drive them over the edge into violence and we can all then sing ‘Imagine’ together while lamenting the bad old world and its evils…

                      As much as I can figure it out something like that seems to be the favored explanation for the apologists.

                    • *blinks*

                      OK, Pohlanainen. That makes enough “sense” that I’ll by it. (Not the reasoning. The reasoning of the reasoning of the apologists.) So… all we have to do to make the world a better place is give them everything they ever asked for?

            • Gay left-wing people who support fundamentalist islamic groups, while hating me, must have some deep mental problem that I can’t fathom. I just disagree with them politically, at no risk to their physical wellbeing, while the others both disagree with them and would happily kill them.

            • meshuggeneh about covers it.

        • But….their glittery you-know-what proves they will be protected/safe.
          Facepalms from here to eternity.

  7. I remember all too well:

    Thinking the person who said to turn on the TV was playing a sick joke – he had that kind of humor.
    Seeing that second plane hit the building.
    Bodies falling.
    Watching the towers come down.
    Walking around in a numb haze.
    Trying to get hold of my sister in the DC area.
    Coming home to an empty apartment with no one to talk to.
    Finally getting hold of my sister and her family.
    Attending an American Pride Rally on the levy that weekend.
    Going to the local blood bank the next week, even though I had a fear of needles.
    Turning on the radio a year later and listening to an all day long patriotic celebration.
    Noticing the diminishing interest each year.
    People saying we should “move past it” that “it only breeds hatred”.
    Being told not to wear my 9-11 shirt to work – it is too provocative.
    Standing in the Pentagon Memorial, looking at the name of a three year old engraved on a bench.

    I remember all too well, which is why I have two pins on my collar today.

    I will never forget.

    • Attending an American Pride Rally on the levy that weekend.

      Someone organized WWII veterans to be in uniform (or sort of) and at the shopping mall for when Great Lakes started letting their new graduates have a weekend with family.

      A guy who fought freaking Nazis, a nurse who braved the oceans around Japan, and a lady who I think was some kind of technician all thanked a dumb little booter like me for my “service.” (and I got hugs)

      I can’t even remember what they said when I tried to explain that I’d joined before 9/11, and that they’d FOUGHT THE NAZIS, all I’d done was pass boot camp….but I’m still tearing up.

      The change between the way things looked when I went in, and how it looked when I came out… flags everywhere, patriotic music, the whole nine yards.

      • CombatMissionary

        When I was a kid, it was always the guys who fought in Vietnam I looked up to, not to mention the vets from Korea and WWII. After going through basic and tech school, still being young and inexperienced, it was the most humbling thing ever, after meeting a couple of these guys, that many of these guys considered me one of them. After my combat tour, I was at a rodeo, and a guy had a unit patch on his vest, along with his Vietnam Vet patch. I shook his hand and said, “Thanks for your service. I was embedded with those guys in Afghanistan.” I had always had huge respect for combat arms guys who fought in Vietnam, knowing how many close quarters ambushes they went through, plus the booby traps, OPFOR blending into the local population, no skype, no furloughs, high KIA rates, high mortality rates among their wounded, etc. Even after my combat tour, where I felt like I’d finally “seen the elephant,” for lack of a better term, it’s a thrill to meet these guys. And this guy was telling ME that he totally respected the Hell WE went through in Afghanistan!

        After a while, though, you get it. Looking at it from the other side of fifteen years’ experience, your viewpoint changes. I was quite a bit older than most of the guys on my team in Afghanistan. You see these young kids who write a check their Uncle Sam can cash any time, and yeah, they may be green, and they may be rowdy, but even if they’ve never been anywhere or done anything (yet), they volunteered to take a bullet for their country, and for the most part, when they go out, they do the job well, and they DO go through some Hell, and they do put their lives on the line, even if they’re “just” a cook or whatever. They’ve still done something most people in our country don’t even consider as a career option, something that still takes guts and selflessness. They may be brand new, but they’re still in the club.

  8. I was doing a service call – fifth floor of one of the buildings at the plant I work at. I was heading towards the elevator when I saw a group of engineers gathered around a TV someone had rolled out of a conference room.

    It showed the news – and the engineers were pretty silent. Most ex-military or involved in military support, they saw what had happened… and knew what was coming.

    Then I got paged – went back to the shop and was told to go home for the day, they were kicking all contractor personnel out of the plant. Next day they were doing serious inspections of all vehicles entering the plant.

    Kept expecting to get called up for the AF Reserve, but guess they didn’t need any aging admin specialists…

    • CombatMissionary

      I nominate you as a replacement for our commander-in-chief. I know some cold-war-era vets-turned-engineers, and there’s not a one of them who doesn’t know how to handle the religion of stick-my-finger-in-your-eye.

      • I would be bloody terrified of botching the job. Which means I’d find the best possible people I could as advisors, and then get THEM to rope in the best possible people to serve as THEIR advisors.

        And then I’d go golfing. (/sarc)

        I’d be biting my nails up to my elbows, and hoping like crazy I was doing the right things.

        My impression is that the current CinC doesn’t really take his position seriously, and hasn’t for a long time – if ever. Yeah, it’s got sweet perqs, and you can do great stuff for your friends – but the responsibility of it seems to roll off him.

        • Going golfing worked for Ike. But he had a ton of competent people in place and several tons of experience under his belt.

          • If someone were doing his job competently (and modestly) I wouldn’t care how much he golfed.

            It could be used for thinking, after all. And maybe important discussions and brainstorming.

            • And the sort of break that shakes up your ideas and lets them fall in new configurations.

              I use walks for that, but golf would also work.

            • Well, if he’s been hit by any brainstorms, the water’s not reaching the ground. But I’m not seeing any signs it’s actually helping.

            • I don’t care how often Dear Leader goes off to play golf, either. But does he have to keep coming back?

            • It could be used for thinking, after all. And maybe important discussions and brainstorming.

              Heck, it’d be great to invite visitors to do something “casual” and make small talk The. Entire. Time.
              Kind of like how Bush would ask people to “visit” him on “vacation” at his ranch.

            • Of course, Ike also had the competence and experience to actually *do the job* that he was delegating. And to judge the performance of those he delegated jobs to.

              None of which are true of our current golfer-in-chief.

              • The Other Sean

                Kinda my point. Though that didn’t keep Democrats and their lapdogs in the press from insinuating that he was shirking.

              • Whattya mean, not “true of our current golfer-in-chief”???

                From Jodi Kantor’s The Obamas, page 66:

                Obama had always had a high estimation of his ability to cast and run his operation. When David Plouffe, his campaign manager, first interviewed for a job with him in 2006, the senator gave him a warning: “I think I could probably do every job on the campaign better than the people I’ll hire to do it,” he said. “It’s hard to give up control when that’s all I’ve known.” Obama said nearly the same thing to Patrick Gaspard, whom he hired to be the campaign’s political director. “I think I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters,” Obama told him. “I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m gonna think I’m a better political director than my political director.”
                http://www.nationalreview.com/campaign-spot/296848/obama-i-can-do-every-job-better-those-i-hire-do-it

                Nobody holds him in higher regard than he does himself, another area where he is better than the people he hires.

            • What angers me about King Putt’s time on the golf course is that his horde shrieked in anger every time Bush golfed. But, then, they claimed rumors Bush used cocaine disqualified him for the office, while ignoring Obama’s admission of using it…

          • He also had a much less ‘immersive’ informational structure than we have today. By the time info got to him it’d been filtered and condensed. I wonder if Obama has people on his staff that know how to separate the occasional good kernel of data from the massive pile of excrement that flows in daily… and make sure he sees the stuff that’s important instead of something he can posture and pontificate on.

            • If so, he either doesn’t listen to them, or they aren’t doing a good job. How many times has he said that he learned about something on the news, just like the rest of us?

              And then he brags about not watching the news.

              • I believe he’s surrounded himself with yes-men, who are insulating him from anything that he might find confusing or disturbing, and constantly looking for the next good photo-op to show what a wonderful, wise, and caring leader he is.

                The after-Presidency tell-alls are going to be brutal, I think.

                • This always makes me think of the idea of “Flappers” from Jonathan Swift. I honestly don’t think that man hears anything someone hasn’t told him to hear or can say anything someone hasn’t told him to say (usually via TelaPrompTer). And it makes me wonder who’s doing the flapping.

                  “Today, Mr. President, this is what you think about…”

                • That can’t possibly be true.
                  Only a full blown narcissist would ever jeopardize the function of the most powerful position on Earth by doing that.
                  Wait, oh never mind.

                • The smart advisors can give smart advice all they want, but if the advisee doesn’t bother to read the briefings, and there’s no frigging way they can get past his Live in Nanny/Chief of Staff to get any face time and force him to at least be in the room when they are giving smart advice, it doesn’t make a whit of difference.

                  To steal from Roger Simon’s piece, to be othewise we need someone other than President NoWhereMan.

              • Malfeasance.

                • There was a story in which a character believed it was impossible to commit “malfeasance, misfeasance and non-feasance” but like him I am starting to wonder.

            • Oh, he certainly does. The problem is that they, IMO, intentionally “filter out” any information tat doesn’t match their ideology. John Kerry, is an excellent example. He has the background, and “experience,” to know better, but denies the evidence. It doesn’t fit his preconceptions of “how the world works,” so he ignores it.
              Add in that Pres. Obama’s _own_ mindset is very similar, and no one is going to “get through.” The harder any outside person/force tries, the harder it will be resisted.

              • Look at his insistence that what we’re going through now ‘isn’t a war’. His verbal contortions would be amusing, if it weren’t so blasted serious.

                • It isn’t! Its a ‘police action’ and we are just sending in a few ‘advisors’. Boy, they wanted another Vietnam, they are working hard as hell to get one.

          • He also worked long hours, quietly, where the media couldn ‘t see him.

            • And I get the impression that when the camera’s off of Obama, he considers himself off-duty.

              I could be (and I hope I am) wrong on that.

              • nope, you’re not wrong. You can tell in how he vacations. GWB mostly went to the Ranch in Crawford. It was as wired as the White House and easily could today fill that need. He got his regular sit-reps and securety breifings every day. Even on “vacation” he was on duty (Bill Clinton was much the same way. Where he went was usually wired up for contact pretty well, and he took his regular briefings most of the time) whereas 0bama skips many of his briefings when he is “on Duty” … how many you think he goes to while on vacation?

                • Consider as well when pundits in his own party called him to account for the callous appearance from shots of him smiling in a golf cart minutes after speaking about the beheadings his so called apology was focused primarily on how unfair it was for the reporters to have caught him out like that. The whole bit was “you caught me and made me look bad” instead of a sincere regret for his obvious lack of caring and concern.
                  As I’ve said time and time again, the man is an empty suit and a consummate Chicago politician.

                  • Is it wrong to chortle over this:
                    Posh golf courses turned Obama away over Labor Day
                    Several elite Westchester County golf courses turned down President Obama’s request to tee off on their links over Labor Day weekend, according to a broadcast report.

                    Effing rascists — they wouldn’t have turned down W’s requeat!

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      I thought the official reason (I’m not wondering if there was another reason) says something interesting about Obama.

                      Basically, the President’s Office didn’t ask for tee times soon enough.

                      The courses needed more time to prepare for the President’s visit.

                      After all they have to get ready for the President’s Secret Service personnel.

                      Allowing the President’s visit would have caused them major problems with their regular customers.

                      It sounds to me like Obama and/or his people had no idea (or cared) about the problems of having the President golf there *at the last minute* relatively speaking.

                      [Begin Sarcasm] Of course, the President can be allowed to barge in wherever or whenever he wants to. [End Sarcasm]

                  • a consummate Chicago politician.
                    translation:
                    Lying sack of horse excrement

                    (My apologies to horse excrement … it at least makes good fertilizer)

              • Hell, comsidering his clear incapacity to do anything worthwhile, the more he considers himself off duty the better.

          • William O. B'Livion

            Well, that and we’d just finished beating large parts of the world into submission.

          • And don’t thin he did not know what wsa going on the whole time either. Some of the 0bamanauts like to make Eisenhower comparisons, but their boy is completely clueless.

  9. CombatMissionary

    On 9/11/01, I was a missionary in a Caribbean country. My companion and I were in the middle of a discussion when the phone rang. The mother of the family answered the phone and started yelling, in a panicked voice, “America’s being bombed!” These people had family members in New York, so we left, and spent most of the morning wandering around trying to find out what on Earth was going on. Finally, wandering through a poor neighborhood, we saw Univision on a TV through an open door. Footage of the Twin Towers was on the screen. We knocked, and the family told us to come in and sit down. We watched for about an hour.

    After we found out what was going on, I wrote my (then) girlfriend a letter, telling her that if the Air Force cancelled my religious sabbatical, to have her dress ready, we were going to get married before I deployed (come to think of it, that’s a heck of a way to propose). I had a few years in the Air Force before I went on my mission. I was blessed to finish my mission uninterrupted, but I kept tabs on the war by periodically visiting a convenience store that happened to have CNN on. We’d pop in for a soda now and again.

    Later, I came home, got married (yes, she waited for me), and ended up with a house full of kids. I switched over to the Army to take advantage of a job as a Spanish linguist. I ended up deploying to Afghanistan in 2008-2009. I was in the Hindu Kush mountains and embedded with an infantry unit. I came home with a Bronze Star. In a few more years I’ll hit my 20. We’ll see if I stay in. I’m almost done with my Bachelor’s degree. It’s weird to think that we’ve been at war for most of my adult life. On the other hand, like Sarah posted a few weeks ago, war will find you whether you want it to or not; it only takes one interested party to make war, and Islam has been at war with the West since the Middle Ages.

    At any rate, I’m spending this 9/11 in uniform. Tonight I’m going to go do some missionary work. In between, I’m spending it with my family. There’s not much else that we can do that befits a day like today. Let’s count our blessings, trust in God to help us fight back against the infidels (and their enablers in our government), and count our blessings. God Bless you all.

  10. I had just come in to work, in an office building close to San Antonio’s airport – we could see the aircraft coming in on southern approach, sliding past our windows every few minutes.
    I was in first – being the office manager. I had turned off the news channel when I left the house, and had been listening to classical music on the car radio during the commute – I didn’t turn on the radio when i got to work because my first thing to do was call and confirm all the client appointments for the day. The first client I called (around 9AM, IIRC) was crying and almost hysterical. There’d been an airplane crashed into the World Trade Center tower, it was on fire, burning, and people were jumping from the windows, it was horrible, horrible!

    I turned on the radio, and fired up the computer. I was listening to NPR then, and my favorite news website was Slate, at the time. (I’ve grown out of that, since.) The one thing I recall about the announcers was the horror in the studio anchor’s voice when the on-the-spot reporter was telling him that the tower had fallen, and the studio anchor kept trying to specify which one. And the reporter on the spot told him again, and he realized that it was both towers down.

    They closed the airport and grounded all aircraft shortly afterwards. The other workers in the office were late. The traffic jams around the airport were hideous, but the sky was empty, empty, empty. Downstairs in the lobby of the bank, someone rolled out a big television on a cart, and everyone was listening to the news coverage. Same at the grocery store, when I popped out on my lunch hour. Everywhere I went was quiet – save for the sound coming from the radio.

    • ” the sky was empty, empty, empty”

      No contrails at all. . . .

    • On 9-12-01, the radio theater group I work with was in the studio, recording an adaptation of Robert Heinlein’s ‘Solution Unsatisfactory.’ If you’ll recall, there’s a point in that story where the U.S. government grounds every airplane in the world, to keep them from being used to spread radioactive dust. We finished the recording session and walked out into the night about ten o’clock. This is Atlanta, home of the busiest airport in the world, and there is always air traffic. Always.

      That night, nothing moved in the clear, black sky.

      • Holy coincidence, Batman. Seriously, that was what scared me the most, because everywhere I’ve ever lived, there were planes.

        And suddenly, the only planes were fighters on patrol.

        • Same kind of reaction here. I lived close enough to Dayton International that I saw / heard planes every day. It was unnerving.

          My sister lived close to Dulles International, she said it made her very nervous to see an empty sky.

          The military jets were over head in both our locations. 😦

        • Fighters and transports – stuff started moving out here that night, and when nothing else is in the sky it’s really obvious. Friends who live in the approach path for the mostly-empty Moffett Federal Airfield (ex naval air station) said they were repeatedly woken up by big transports overhead starting that night. Somebody threw the mobilization switch really early along, at least for some assets.

    • I was working at a welding shop surrounded by grass seed fields and under the major North-South flight corridor for the West coast. It was eerie looking up at the clear sky with no contrails.

  11. I was working a contract job at the Davis-Besse nuclear plant near Toledo. My wife and kids were back in Illinoisy and she called me to tell me she had heard on the radio that a plane had hit one of the towers.I thought “Oh man, a bad accident.” About 20 minutes later she called again to tell me the other tower had been hit and both were airliners. and then while she was talking the last one hit the Pentagon. I knew then that this was an act of war.

    The plant had informational TV’s in all offices and one of the guys rolled a chair up and switched over to the only other channell which was CNBC. Everyone watched stunned as they replayed the incidents. About an hour later the NRC ordered all plants on lockdown at the same time as all airplanes were forced to land. Everyone was sent home.

    My oldest son was a sophmore in high school and wanted to join the Marines right then. Botth the wife and I convinced him to finish high school first, then join if he still wanted to. He did, and ten years later is still in an infantry unit. #3 son joined also as soon as high school was finished and he had recovered from a bad groin injury from high school soccer. He’s on his second re-enlistment as a machine gunner in an Marine infantry platoon. They both could have easily done another MOS, as they are bright and adaptable, but they wanted to fight at the tip of the spear.

    Both are Eagle Scouts and our troop also has an Eagle on Seal Team 6, his brother is a naval officer on a sub (attack), and another was in the Army as an infantry grunt. All remember 9/11 and joined because of it.

  12. By that afternoon, the only planes in the sky around Davis-Besse were the F-16’s from the AF reserve unit at the Toledo Airport patrolling over Detroit, Toledo, Cleveland and the nuke plants – Davis-Besse, Perry, and Fermi.

    It was strange not seeing any oter planes in the sky.

    • That reminds me of one of the moments of real fear in the Dayton area.

      Around 5:30 we all heard a loud boom, like an explosion. A fire was reported near one of the small local air ports. Since Dayton is close to an AF base and Dayton International Airport, some of us were afraid we’d been hit.

      About an hour later we were told by the media that a couple of Air National Guard planes had “accidently” broke the Mach 1 sound barrier.

      Oddly enough, not long after that, they announced that Air Force 1 had just landed at Andrews.

      AF-1 had been in Omaha, Neb. Guess what is in the flight path from Omaha to Andrews? Yep, SW Ohio. To this day, I am convinced that it was the chase planes for AF-1 hitting Mach 1 that we heard.

  13. There had been some kind of weather somewhere that delayed flights. Fog or something I think in the DFW area or maybe Houston. The flights had started to come in from the delays one after the other and it was getting busy.
    I fueled a flight, ran into Ops to get the fuel ticket and check flight times and if possible the loads on those inbound I was going to have coming, and the agents were discussing a plane hitting one of the Twin Towers. Speculation ranged from a Cessna pilot committing suicide, to one claim it was a flight from SouthWest Airlines trying to land in New Jersey (by an idiot who lied so often no one listened to them). I grabbed the tickets for my next few flights and went back out to my truck. Doing flights back to back and over lapped, I did my next one, ran over to another gate and got a second, then the fist was pushed out and another slotted in (this one was really late and we were going to try a 10 minute turnaround) so I finished then pulled onto that plane, hooked up, and started pumping. The luggage was pulled off, then the outgoing carts were positioned to load the plane,
    No one loaded those bags.
    The ground crew disappeared, I remember thinking, “This flight is going to be delayed if they don’t get it loaded”, and I finished up, and ran the ticket up to the ops agents station …. no one was on the plane, the agent wasn’t in sight.
    Dropped my ticket and went into ops to get my next load and see if I needed to top off before the next flight and if I was going to have time, or if I was going to need the back up truck.
    The second plane had hit the other tower.
    I topped my truck, and not long later, none of these flights leaving, I wondered into ops and a guy I didn’t particularly like was standing, staring at the TV in the break room. I glanced up and asked”What’s going on? um .. Where is the other tower?”.
    He just numbly said “It just fell”.
    People were running back and forth.
    Then the skies were to be cleared so we were told to get the fuel trucks as far from the terminal as possible, and lock them up.
    We sat at the freight are of our company and my Supervisor told us to go home, but stay close to a phone (none of us had cell phones then) as he didn’t know when these planes were going to leave.
    10 minutes after we left, they locked the airport down.
    Everyone left there was herded into the Hilton and then pulled out by the Police and the Airport agents to do a search of the work areas … typical attempts to close the door after the horses had long left and died of old age. My Supe left at 11pm when they finished our area. Others got to leave not long after when they finally realized not every person was needed to do the searches. The girl I was interested in at the time got home at midnight.

    In the days following the ramped up security was a “good show” (well, if you like a farce, anyhow), but mostly it’s a joke that only inconvenienced us, molested the passengers, and did next to nothing to actually increase the security. From what I have heard since leaving the airport, it has not improved.

    • The problem with Airport Security is that anybody with a teaspoon of sense knew that making a big deal of it wouldn’ make any practical difference. The next bunch of nuts who tried to take over a plane were going to get stuffed into the overhead luggage compartment in somewhat used condition.

      So nobody with any sense was supervising the new agency and that left the field to the cowboys and empire builders.

  14. I was in the final stages of my MOS training. We had just gone on our first break of the morning when the first plane hit. We thought that someone had snuck a movie into the building at first… but no It was CNN (one of the few channels allowed to be played in that building). Watched the report all break, went back to class, and got sent back out to watch the news with the words “our job is to make sure THAT never happens.”

  15. I’m still so angry about it, and about our response. I was in the Meadowlands, working. Like most, we thought it was an unfortunate accident. Then the tv got switched on, and everyone stopped working to watch. When the tower fell, I used every card in my wallet to get cash from the lobby atm, and urged everyone else to do the same. No one understood why they would want to. We were 2000 miles from home.

    Topped up the gas in the rental car, stopped and bought a week’s worth of shelf stable meals, and went back to the hotel. Sat, numb, and watched the tv. It was surreal. PBS had the only good signal, all the other channels were off the air. Phones were not working, cell service was off. My nationwide skytel pager was the only way I could communicate. It stayed up throughout.

    I carried that pager for the next 6 years, in addition to a cell phone from AT&T and one from Sprint. My wife didn’t understand why I still carried that pager. Didn’t matter. I wasn’t giving it up. When wikileaks released all the pager traffic from 9-11 it was like watching a bomb explode in slow motion. I couldn’t bear to read it for more than a few minutes at a time. One by one, machines fell off the air. People failed to respond to pages. Emergency plans were activated. Secret Service, and other .gov personnel went active. Confusion reigned. But people DID things. EOC’s were set up and went live.

    My coworkers and I ended up driving west. As we were leaving, truck after truck loaded with emergency generators passed us going into the city. People acted. They threw whatever they thought would be needed on trucks and WENT. I was so proud.

    I’m crying at the moment. I still can’t really think of that day without choking back tears.

    I’m not scared, no matter what our lapdog media keep repeating. I’m not scared, no matter what our treasonous politician keep insisting. We were diverted from our righteous fury by lies. I’m angry. I’m wary, and I’m prepared.

    Never forget. Never forgive.

    zuk

    • “As we were leaving, truck after truck loaded with emergency generators passed us going into the city. People acted. They threw whatever they thought would be needed on trucks and WENT. I was so proud.”

      That’s Americans for ya, self-organizing to a fault. Forget waiting to be told what to do…

      Friend of mine told me about a fire in a Moscow hotel (may be apocryphal, maybe not.) As was the regulation of the time, travelers surrendered their passports upon check-in, and weren’t to leave the hotel without telling where they were going and getting their passport back.

      Foreign guests were put on upper floors, locals on the lowers. A trade delegation of Japanese were occupying the topmost floors. A fire broke out in the hotel, gutting it.

      All the Japanese got out. They gathered sheets and blankets, made ropes, went out the windows.

      All the Russians died. They waited for someone to tell them what to do.

      It was a striking example of the difference in thinking. They’d been conditioned to wait for permission and instructions, while the Japanese decided they weren’t going to wait.

    • Here’s a scary thought for you.. .. .. we haven’t’ learned.

      Phone lines were flooded that day, over burdened. Whole regions had little to no service. It took me until 10 that night to reach my sister.

      Our communication network is still too easy to disrupt and with the introduction of digital phone service (Verizon FiOS) it is only getting worse. When the DC area was hit by that dreko (cant’ spell that word at all) two years ago, most of us lost phone service when our power went out. Cell phones run out of power and become useless.

      Break to communication network and you can cripple your opponent.

  16. Thank you, Sarah, for describing my sorrow so brilliantly. Today I mourn. I shed tears. I do not fear.

  17. Hey, it’s all good. Barry’s going to save us all from ISIS.

  18. Christopher M. Chupik

    Still living with my parents at that point. My Mom told me when I got up that a plane hit one of the Towers and I also assumed a small plane. Then another hit. Then other planes were announced to be missing. I went to work at the bookstore. I don’t think we sold much of anything except newspapers, which were pumping out new editions every few hours. Mostly, we just shuffled around the store, wondering if the world was coming to an end.

  19. It was such a clear blue day.

    I had arranged a flight that day on a B-17 for my father, who had crewed on one during WWII. That afternoon. I went to work, downtown Seattle. In a tall building. And then the calls came. Nobody knew what was happening, or why. When we were told to go home, everyone on the bus was completely silent. Needless to say, my father never got his B-17 ride. I donated the refunded ticket money to the Red Cross (and my father was mad at me. He never forgave the Red Cross for how they acted in WWII)

    I was supposed to go to visit friends in France on the 13th. I went as soon as they reopened the airports, reasoning that it would never be safer–human nature being what it was, people would get careless over time. While I was there I learned an acquaintance had been in one of the towers and hadn’t been found. My friends were in Toulouse, and not long after I arrived there was a terrible accident, an explosion at a chemical plant. Reports at first were a plane had flown over just before. (And they discovered how very, very difficult it was to evacuate a medieval city in a hurry.) For a brief moment, the people there truly understood what we had gone through. But it was just an accident, and they went back to telling me America should not “overreact.” Oh, how very fortunate that man was I did not speak French. I was so coldly angry, in a way I had never been. I merely said, in English, “We will do what we need to do”… but I think it was the expression in my eyes that shut him up. They were still pulling bodies from the rubble, and that man said that to me! I should have slapped him. That is universally understood.

    • “I donated the refunded ticket money to the Red Cross (and my father was mad at me. He never forgave the Red Cross for how they acted in WWII)”

      I never knew anybody who served there who had a good thing to say about the Red Cross. Many of them would donate money they couldn’t really afford to the Salvation Army, but wouldn’t spit on the Red Cross if they were on fire.

  20. I was at work, playing with kids. One of the older patients came in and told us what happened. I didn’t believe him. One after another came in and told us. We didn’t have a TV in the office, so we turned on the radio and sat glued around it. I went to the middle school to pick up my boys and sat in the parking lot and cried because I wasn’t going to be able to give them the safe, bountiful world I had. I ended up leaving them in school so I could go home and cry. I’ve never seen the video footage, I never wanted to. It never occurred to me that people in this country would react by blaming us. That’s when I got mad. And stayed mad.

  21. Wasn’t 9/11 so much as 9/12 that cemented something for me. I used to be more politically ecumenical. I think the last time I voted for a Democrat was in 1993 (a local election). All through the ’90’s, through relentless exposure to the Clintonites and their Alinsky-ite marxism badly disguised as warmed over Progressivism, my heart was hardened for me. A mid-point happened in my reaction to the news of crowd-sourced outrage in South Florida during the 2000 vote count. I blurted out in an online forum: “Omigod, the Democrats are trying to steal the election by rioting.”

    But, in the moments of watching the Canadian knee-jerk liberal on ABC lecture us about the sensitivity of overseas opinion (and Jennings was remarkably restrained at that), interspersed with the occasional footage of smoking rubble in lower Manhattan, I naturally assumed there HAD to be some Democrat perfidy involved here, somewhere, and that, if Dubya didn’t come up with a VERY muscular response that — yes, indeed — included knocking Saddam Hussein off his perch, he could forget re-election.

    And then, it seems in memory, the VERY NEXT DAY, Teddy the Swimming Traitor Kennedy was in the well of the Senate spewing his “Lie after lie after lie!” bile and the party on the Left relentlessly worked to benefit their cronies (read: unionize airport security), grab power in the tone-deafenedly-named Department of Homeland Security (sarcasm can’t drip venomously enough), and undermine ANY initiative that was even looked upon favorably by anyone to the right of John Reed, sabotage the war effort, and betray the Republic, their oaths of office, and Western Civilization in their never-ending drive to personal power and enrichment.

    No more. Death to Democrats! (Well, to their party, anyway.) Fifth columnists and traitors all. The lot of them! As for the Islamist tumblefarks; I stand with Toby Kieth.

    M

    • “Omigod, the Democrats are trying to steal the election by rioting.”

      Do you remember their expressions of outrage over Republican “Yuppie Riots” to prevent them from counting the ballots behind closed doors?

      • Yep. But to remember that Jesse Jackson and Krewe were down there LONG before the Yuppie rioters, pounding on doors, demanding a “fair” count that they could agree with.

        M

  22. Being a stay-at-home mom, before 9/11 I had hardly even heard of the Twin Towers. That day, I had gone outside to milk the goats. My then-husband came out and told me a plane had hit the World Trade Center, and my thought was, what’s that? And where is it? When I got back in the house we got the news up on the internet (we didn’t — and don’t — have a TV) and watched as the second plane hit and the towers collapsed. I was stunned. We were afraid the death toll was going to be a lot higher, and it could have been. As bad as it turned out to be, it could have been a lot worse — there were a lot of people in those towers that day. Then of course, the Pentagon was hit, and the other plane went down that was probably heading for the White House or the Capitol Building. It was a very sad time, but not nearly as sad as seeing what has happened in this country since then. Those disasters were USED for political agendas that had and have nothing to do with the well-being of this nation or it’s people. That makes me sick and angry.

    My sister and her husband and their two small girls were on vacation in Alaska, visiting family. They had flown up there and rented a car. When the airports were shut down, they had no way to get home (and BIL needed to get back to work), so they bought an old motor home, did a little fixing on it (BIL is a mechanic), and drove home to Wyoming. Quite an adventure for them.

  23. I was in Navy boot camp.

    One of the girls came back talking about what she’d seen on the TV in the dentist office; we thought they were screwing with us, but that got pretty quickly dispelled.

    The head of our division didn’t want us to be told about it at all. AT2 ignored him. We failed our uniform inspection, but that kind of disappeared.

    The girl in the bunk below me, her dad was an Army Chaplain, and was going to be in the Pentagon, in the section that was hit, for a big meeting. She joined the Navy to piss him off– most of her life was built around defying him. He broke an ankle getting the secretary in the office he was visiting out but was othewise fine, we found out the next day.

    A guy across the hall… His mom’s family had a restaurant in one of the towers. Family affair. His mom was out picking up something or other when it hit, but other than that….. Navy offered to let him take time off for the funerals, and he refused because he wanted to do something.

    When I hit my first school after boot camp, one of my room mates was a New York liberal. A 31 year old artist married to a doctor, she had a studio with a great view of New York.
    Of the towers.
    She was working that day.
    Not only did she join the Navy to load bombs, but she wanted to know why the (blank) we weren’t over in Iraq taking out Saddam, and had the copy of the New Yorker with details on what he’d done to the Kurds and marsh Arabs to back it up. (She graduated before Iraq.)

    Second school, one of the Marine instructors brought in this video:

    • Cool video. Some awesome fire power there and a few obsolete planes. Although I had to cheer at the 1:36 mark when a pair of BUFF’s (D models I believe) make a pass. Those babies could carry some heavy pay loads. ((Dad spent hundreds of hours in the cockpit of one of those ladies.))

  24. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    I was working the late shift at a Denver area 7-11 store so I got up very late on that Sept 11th. When I turned on my PC and got the reports on what happened, I was sure that it was some sort of internet hoax.

    I wish the Liberal stupidity (just after and currently) about Islam was just an internet hoax but it isn’t. [Frown]

  25. I remember that day well. 13 years ago today, I was two months into what was then a co-op assignment, deep in code for a new database application, trying to ignore the noise of everything going on around me. Then somebody heard the news of the first plane striking one of the towers, and suddenly work was the furthest from anybody’s mind. Most of the people in our department at that time are gone now, having transferred, quit, or been laid off. But here I remain, seated maybe 100 feet away from that spot, and the adjacent desks occupied by others who’d been sitting nearby on that terrible day.

    And sitting here, I mourn the loss of the world before. The loss of world before our politicians engaged in a successful bipartisan effort to create a police state intruding upon our citizenry. Before a third of our populace (and half the world) decided we were evil because we fought back against those who’d attacked us. Before the dark times.

  26. I had just gotten up (I was a night owl in those days) and I logged on to see an e-mailed news alert that a plane had hit one of the towers of the World Trade Center. God forgive me, but I actually laughed. Back in the early ’70’s when the towers were being built, there had been a lot of negative press about their ugliness and the builders’ gaucherie for constructing something taller than the Empire State Building. As others did who hadn’t seen the TV coverage, I just assumed that it was a small plane and that no serious damage had been done. So I laughed and said to myself, out loud as I recall, “Hey, maybe it dented one of those cracker boxes!”

    I went on with my usual morning routine. It was Tuesday so I was preparing the next batch of weekly assignments for the online Latin classes I taught. As others have said, it was a lovely day, and I paused to look out the window and check my e-mail again.

    There was another news alert about that plane striking the World Trade Center. This time it said that one of the towers had partially collapsed. I stopped laughing and felt sorry for those involved; it was clearly much more serious than I had thought. I forget whether it said that it was a commercial flight or whether I assumed it must be if the tower had collapsed. I still had no inkling that it wasn’t an accident.

    Only a few minutes later, a third alert came into my inbox, saying that a second plane had hit the Towers. “Wait a minute,” I said to myself, in the understatement of the new century. “Something is going *on* here. That can’t have been an accident.”

    The only television we had was wild-feed C-Band, but I went into the living room and looked to see what I could find. I spent the rest of the day watching bits and pieces of TV coverage and talking about what had happened on Usenet, mostly in rasff and rec.arts.sf.written. When the Pentagon was hit, I assumed we’d be at war as soon as Congress could declare it.

    Somewhere in there I told my students that they did not need to turn their Latin assignments in that evening.

  27. I thought that this country had awakened after 9/11 happened. Sadly, too many of fellow citizens decided that being awake was too scary, rolled over and went back to sleep. So here we are, governed in a post-9/11 world by people with a 9/10 mind. It’s not comforting, to say the least.

  28. William O. B'Livion

    I was working for a Sillycon Valley startup that year. My wife woke me up with the news, and I watched the shot of the planes hitting on our crummy old TV.

    I went back into my office, loaded two of the handguns there, dropped one in my Timbuck2 messenger bag. I told my wife the other was there if she needed it (she was between gigs at the time), and I went to work.

    There was only two or three other people in the office (should have been about 80), so nothing was getting done. I left early that day–maybe around 2:30.

    Traffic was light.

    I wasn’t surprised by what happened, after all “To the Shores of Tripoli”, there’s a reason that’s in the song, and a reason Lt. O’Bannon and his Marines had to take a little hike.

    Go read about why that had to happen–someone wasn’t reading their shakespeare.

    You know the phrase “Civilize them with a Krag”? Yeah, that was from fighting the Moro’s in the Philippines.

    You can say Allahu Akbar all you want, but my Gods (Newton, Shannon, Murphy, Popper) built a society where shit *works*, where we don’t cut peoples heads off, where women generally *can* walk the streets and when they can’t we put their rapists in jail rather than stone them.

    There’s a reason that when there’s a 4.5 earthquake in Iran thousands die, and a when there’s a 6.0 in California people ROLL OVER AND GO BACK TO SLEEP.

    Fear?

    No. Just a desire that they not do to my country what they’ve done to theirs.

    • CombatMissionary

      Amen. Still in the fight, and training the troops for the next battle. Sadly, it’s often training given IN SPITE OF our federal government’s leadership, rather than supported by it. But we’re not going down easy.

      • William O. B'Livion

        The private sector has provided me with more agressive, more violent, more *useful* combat training than the DoD ever did (to be fair I wasn’t in a Combat Arms MOS).

        • CombatMissionary

          Yeah. I know what you mean. We’ve gotten too far away from every Soldier, Sailor, Airman, Marine and Coast Guardsman having the skills to be a fighter. Although from what I understand, the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program is a huge step towards fixing that. When I’m elected President-For-Life, we’ll have MMA training taught in every school from Kindergarten through high school graduation. We’ll also have weapons training, using BB guns (rifles and pistols; single-, double- and lever action in the lower grades, semi-auto in sixth and seventh) through all the grade school years, .22’s through junior high, and larger caliber firearms through high school. Then every military member will have a 1911 .45 ACP in a shoulder rig be part of their duty uniform. And you’ll have to advance in your MMA belt ranking to be considered for promotion.
          Also, young men will be drafted for four years’ infantry service starting at age 18, and girls will be drafted into the medical corps for four years at age 18. Scumbags will find their way to Leavenworth; exceptions will be given for religious objections or medical reasons. Also, you’ll have to make E-6 before you’re ever allowed to be an officer, which will limit commissions to Soldiers who are at least 30.

          So, you know, I have all the answers. They’re just here waiting, world! 😉

          • William O. B'Livion

            Then every military member will have a 1911 .45 ACP in a shoulder rig be part of their duty uniform.

            Really?

            This is 2014, not 1920. There are better options. Lots of better options, especially for something that needs to be mass produced (there’s a reason that cheap 1911s are about the price, and nowhere near the reliability of the modern polymer pistols).

            Also, young men will be drafted for four years’ infantry service starting at age 18, and girls will be drafted into the medical corps for four years at age 18.

            I don’t like slavery, even in service to country.

            Free men fight better–even the Greeks knew this (sort of). Read VD Hanson’s Carnage and Culture. Our current “volunteer” army is the most capable, trained and effective infantry we’ve ever fielded–while also being the most constrained by ROE.

            I am in *awe* of the way many of our fighting men have handled themselves.

            Also, you’ll have to make E-6 before you’re ever allowed to be an officer, which will limit commissions to Soldiers who are at least 30.

            That’s a really bad idea. There is a big and *essential* difference in mindset between an officer and enlisted folks (do understand that while I don’t have 20 years continuous service, I’ve got 11 years service across three branches and 3 years as a contractor both down range and *way* up range). The kind of person who makes a good NCO or SNCO will *generally* not make a good officer (O4+ rank). By the time you’ve got someone who has demonstrated the traits you want in an NCO (to get promoted to E5 then 6) they’ve demonstrated the wrong set of skills and focus for being an officer.

            As the saying sorta goes, NCOs worry about tactics and execution (and Jr. Officers learn it from them). Staff grades worry about strategies. Generals worry about logistics. Captains (O3, not Navy) should be spot checking troops to make sure the

            You should be able to note good officer material at the E-3/4 level and send them to a *real* college (not night courses), doing OCS and other courses during the summers.

            • CombatMissionary

              With regards to 1911s, there are still plenty of law enforcement and SF groups using them. I wasn’t aware of any reliability problems. In all practicality, the best gun is the one that works for you. I’m over six feet tall, and I like my Kimber .45 1911. My personal bias may be showing there, but most of what I said was tongue-in-cheek. Mostly I just REALLY object to having our armed forces NOT BEING ARMED. Two Fort Hood shootings, the Navy yard shooting, etc., all illustrate the stupidity of putting our servicemembers in a suit that screams, “TARGETS RIGHT HERE!” (especially that rushed-into-service digitized ACU pattern) without actually giving them the means to defend themselves. If you can’t qualify for a CCW permit (absent exceptions for short-term investigations, etc.) then by and large you shouldn’t be in the armed forces anyway. My opinion. I’d like to see a national training program that would give all servicemembers CCW training that would be recognized by all our states and territories. But like I said, that’ll happen when I’m elected President-for-life.

              You make a fantastic point about free armies tending to fight the best, and I don’t know that I’d ACTUALLY institute a mandatory draft for all our young men and women, but I think the idea has a couple of positive points worth considering. 1) I think many low information voters think and vote like they do in part because they have no personal ties to the effects of our foreign policy. Many Americans that get truly outraged by things like Benghazi are those that have family members in some form of service to the nation, and they know that if the government will let one of our ambassadors get killed, they’ll gladly leave their mom/dad/son/daughter/etc. swinging in the wind. 2) In many nations with a mandatory military service, nationalism isn’t a perjorative term, it’s simply how people think. They know their nation needs defending against their enemies, and that’s it. 3) This is a distant third, but bears some consideration: many people who were drafted during the Cold War had never considered a military career, and found it to be satisfying, and brought in skill sets that might otherwise have never made it into the armed forces (on an individual level). By itself, this isn’t a good reason to have a draft, but it’s one benefit. Further, I don’t see the concept of a draft as slavery, any more than I see the concept of taxes as slavery. Both can be abused and become a form of slavery, but executed in proper fashion, both are simply a form of carrying out a duty to uphold the nation that (hypothetically) affords justice and order to citizens.

              As far as E-6 being a requirement for being an officer… I’ve seen lots of good officers who haven’t been prior enlisted. I’ve seen bad officers who HAVE been prior enlisted. However, when I recall the officers I’ve seen who were at least E-5 before commissioning, it seems like a much higher percentage of officers I’ve met who were NCOs before commissioning understand better how their orders will affect the mission being carried out on the ground, are more grounded in results rather than minutiae, tend to listen to their NCOs rather than ignoring them when approached with concerns, and overall seem to have much more success in not killing morale and in winning the respect of their Soldiers. Maybe that’s just the sectors I’ve worked in during my career. It could be. I’m not combat arms. You’re right that it’s different managerial skill sets at different levels. On the other hand, I will point out, which has more respect and prestige? The officer corps, or the warrant officer corps? The gateway to being a warrant officer lies through the NCO corps, and is very heavily guarded.

              And what do you mean real college vs. night courses? You trash-talking me? 😉

              • You make a fantastic point about free armies tending to fight the best, and I don’t know that I’d ACTUALLY institute a mandatory draft for all our young men and women, but I think the idea has a couple of positive points worth considering.

                Something to mull would be that draftees can not be subject to combat unless an full declaration of war is declared and, in fact, leave them under command of the state governments as militia. You can even maybe avoid the involuntary servitude part by making those who enlist eligible for free tuition and other benefits. They can be trained for disaster response and required to serve in emergency service organizations as their enlistment.

                Until of course a full declaration of war is declared.

                • Another alternative: go full Republic of Gondour. Everyone gets a single franchise by right of citizenship, but anyone who enlists in the armed services gets a second (non-transferable, non-heritable) franchise. The LIVs are unlikely to enlist, and when their votes are purchased for bread and circuses, the military vote and the veteran vote (presumably both much larger in this scenario) would outweigh them.

                  There’s a risk that the military would evolve into a caste system of course, with the upper ranks expelling “undesirables” with dishonorable discharges and removal of the extra franchise, but given that the trend in American history has been *expansion* of the franchise, I don’t consider that a serious risk.

                  • CombatMissionary

                    I’ve always liked the Starship Troopers solution: service grants you citizenship and a right to vote.
                    Or we could say nobody who hasn’t gotten married and had kids. Either way. The point is to make sure the people with a say are the ones with a stake in the long-term stability of the nation, not voting themselves bread and circuses.

                  • That was a suggestion by writer Nevil Schute, in one of his futuristic novels; that there was a basic vote, which everyone had, and then one for having been in military service (IIRC), having built up a company of so much value, having been married for so many years (that vote was shared between the husband and wife) and a couple of others.
                    Presented for your entertainment – and amazingly without PC –
                    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_the_Wet

                • How about offering the vote for service?
                  If they’re willing to put their butts on the line, they might be more deliberative when using it.

                  • Heinlein would like that.

                    And while we are on the subject I would like to turn the clock back and strip the franchise from those in the fed bureaucracy.

                    • So you want to make sure that nobody with a stake in making sure the country goes well is involved in the actual running of the gov’t?

                    • So you want to make sure that nobody with a stake in making sure the country goes well is involved in the actual running of the gov’t?

                      Or voting for their personal interests against that of the nation. It was one of the arguments as to why D.C. residents shouldn’t be allowed to vote — they only the right to vote for president in 1961 and remain unrepresented in the House and Senate.

                      Of course, with the advent of the interstates the D.C. bureaucrats now live in MD and Va. and put their personal interests ahead of the rest of us.

                    • Or voting for their personal interests against that of the nation.

                      *points at the bureaucrats who would be deciding what the “interests of the nation” were*

                      It’s a nice idea, except that it’s just a rephrasing of the ideal that we put the good of our neighbors ahead of ourselves getting ahead by any means. It’s unenforceable, and the work-around of “nobody who works for the feds” or “nobody in X department of the govt” sets up an obvious abuse. Heck, we’ve already got the abuse with mud puddles being deemed navigable waters, and the EPA’s members can vote!

                      Also, the DC-not-voting thing is because they could go lobby for themselves, rather than needing to send someone to do the job.
                      Plus the whole problem of selective enforcement of laws against and in defense of the reps…

                      retyping this because I can’t tab out and paste it, so it might be messed up:
                      http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2007/03/the-constitution-and-the-district-of-columbia

                    • It’s a nice idea, except that it’s just a rephrasing of the ideal that we put the good of our neighbors ahead of ourselves getting ahead by any means.

                      Actually, it’s the opposite. It’s making the assumption that people won’t put their neighbors’ — i.e. do what’s right and honorable — first.

                      Taking the franchise away would take the power to vote for raises, more underlings, more authority from them.

                      I like the idea.

                      It’s not as though they wouldn’t be well compensated or couldn’t get it back if they quit the fed workforce.

                    • You haven’t actually responded to any of the problems, and don’t seem to have gotten the point that I was making.

                      Not worth it for something that will never happen, anyways.

                    • We are talking generalities and principles rather than specifics, but it wouldn’t be that hard actually.

                      A law would be passed to make it illegal for a federal employee to vote in a federal election. Voting requires registration which requires name, address and birth date. The person registered is recorded as having voted. Federal employee lists are not secret. It wouldn’t be that hard to match one as having voted hence leading to a prosecution.

                      Also, the DC-not-voting thing is because they could go lobby for themselves, rather than needing to send someone to do the job.

                      It’s because the rest of the states did not want to give the federal city seats in Congress because it had an inherent self-interest to push for greater power at their expense. It’s primary employer was the federal government.

                    • I could see giving them a choice — government employees can belong to a union or vote for elected representatives, but not both.

                    • *laughs*

                      I’d much rather make union membership optional– entirely optional, including being bound by their contracts (although the workplace can choose to only offer a contract identical to that of union members) and never being charged union dues.

                • CombatMissionary

                  That’s not bad! I like that!

              • Uh, the Marine Corps is issuing 1911s…

                • CombatMissionary

                  We’re still stuck with 9mm Beretta, but we’re switching over from the M9 to the M11. 😦

                  • William O. B'Livion

                    I’ve got one (92FS) It’s currently doing headboard duty.

                    If I was going out the correct door on a C130 of some shitstan, I’d *prefer* a Glock, because it’s lighter and doesn’t get as hot, or as cold (meaning from the sun.) but if I had no options, and it was the Beretta, I’d not feel like I was being shat on from great height. I would however put new springs in the magazines. Or just get brand new mecgar/factory mags.

                    I’ve put probably 8 or 9 thousand rounds through it (admittedly it’s been a while) and it was reliable. Until the locking lugs broke, which Beretta fixed for free.

                    • CombatMissionary

                      I’m not a big fan of Beretta. I like the decock lever, but I don’t like that it’s a safety as well. Once or twice in training the lever’s gotten flipped to Safe on me, and when I go to fire, NO BANG. I’d rather have no safety at all, like my 1911. Sure, you can train around that, but it takes A LOT of training to make it muscle memory. Murphy’s Law. If I have a Beretta in a gunfight, I just KNOW it would end up flipped to Safe on that day. KISS and all that.
                      Also, this may be nit-picking, but I don’t like that the slide leaves the barrel exposed with an unnecessary cutout. Seems like a great way to introduce dust into the guts of the weapon, especially when you oil it. Proper maintenance will fight that, but STILL. It probably had a lot to do with her and a lack of maintenance, but when I went through the academy, we had a female that carried a Beretta and had no end of problems. It made me very suspicious of them, and I haven’t gotten over it since.

                • William O. B'Livion

                  Not General Issue, MEUSOC, MARSOC, SRT and the pistol team.

                  The rest of them get the M9.

              • William O. B'Livion

                With regards to 1911s, there are still plenty of law enforcement and SF groups using them.

                You’d be surprised what the SF individuals carry. It’s a mix of the M9, Glocks, SIgs, HKs, and yes, the 1911.

                I’m not talking the 1911 *down*, it was a good design for it’s time. But time and time again in force on force training people just flat out *miss* getting the safety off.

                This much less a problem with the Beretta carried properly, and not a problem *at all* with the Glock.

                I wasn’t aware of any reliability problems.

                There are reliability concerns with the 1911. The extractor or ejector (I forget, I haven’t shot one in a couple years, and the one I shot wasn’t mine) has some issues (or did). Also to get it accurate it’s got tight tolerances. To get it reliable you have to wear it in.

                The Marines expect their to be rebuilt about every 10000 rounds by an armorer.

                That’s about how often I clean my Glocks. (Not pimping Glock here, just sayin). I’ve got about 20k rounds through both of them (more or less) and haven’t replaced a single part. And yeah, they’re due for another 30 minute bath in the ultrasonic tank.

                In a sense I’m criticizing the 1911, but not because it’s a *bad* gun, but because for *military* use there are much better.

                Modern, polymer “safe action” or “1 and a half” action pistols with double stack magazines are lighter, more robust, and carry more rounds. They require less maintenance and less repair. They are cheaper to build and because they require less hand finishing they are more consistent from instance to instance

                No, they don’t have the legacy or the romance. That doesn’t matter, this is a military weapon for turning people into a logistics problem.

                In all practicality, the best gun is the one that works for you.

                You’re switching contexts on me. When you go from a weapon for 10s of thousands of people or more to a single person that changes things.

                The best gun is the one in your hand and working when you need it. If your threat model is a couple thugs at an ATM, or bumps in the night, it really doesn’t matter, get something comfortable, shoot it when you want.

                I’d rather my wife carry *any* gun than none, so I’ll get her the one that she likes the best and arrange to have it painted pink with pearl inlay if that would get her to carry it.

                But if your threat model is Beslan, Mumbia, and Westgate Nairobi, then you get the most reliable you can, and you train as much as you can afford and you carry everywhere.

                I’m not worried about muggers.

                I don’t *like* the way the Glock feels in my hand. I much prefer my P7, but the small glock is 11 v.s. 9 rounds in the gun. The 19 is 16 rounds, with 15 round reloads. The P7 is fancy with complicated internals. The glock is simple and robust. So I trained with the Glock until I could come out of the holster and get reliable hits out to 55 yards with the first shot out of the holster. I’m a little off my prime because right now I can’t afford the live fire.

                • CombatMissionary

                  Well, yeah, I said above that it doesn’t HAVE a safety. Brain fart. I’m just not a big fan of safeties on pistols. I never use them. If it’s in the holster, it’s not going to go bang. Nothing will get in the holster and pull the trigger. And it’s not ambidextrous like the one on the Beretta. I’m right-handed, so I’ve never had it accidentally bump to Safe on me, because it’s against my leg.
                  I know my wife’s dad hated the grip safety on my Kimber, but his weapon of choice was a six-gun, and he would limp-wrist the 1911 because he had some… VERY unique training in his youth. Right- or left- handed, he could ride a horse through a farm field at a dead gallop and hip-shoot mice as they jumped out of the horse’s way. Or he’d pick sunflowers by hip-shooting the stems from thirty paces or more in an intermittent breeze. He even trained to the point where he would use his right or left hand to throw a knife, then draw and fire the pistol, and he’d stick the knife in the bullet hole every time. NOT the guy I’d want to face in combat. And he said he went through tens of thousands of rounds and a lot of knives to get that good when he was a young man.

              • William O. B'Livion

                I think many low information voters think and vote like they do in part because they have no personal ties to the effects of our foreign policy.

                Some of the most “low information voters” I’ve ever met where military or former military.

                In many nations with a mandatory military service, nationalism isn’t a perjorative term, it’s simply how people think.

                Arrow of causality goes the other way. People believe in their nation because their nation is (in their perception) their tribe, so they are willing to see required military service.

                However now many of the modern “western” nations other than Israel really expect any of their troops to have to fight?

                Well, Israel and Ukraine. Although Poland might be getting a bit nervous…

                I don’t see the concept of a draft as slavery, any more than I see the concept of taxes as slavery.

                You are requiring someone to *completely* surrender their life (and possibly lose it), giving them minimal to no input, moving them around the world with little or no say, subjecting them to boot camp etc.

                And you don’t see this as akin to slavery?

                Taxes (to a point) isn’t slavery, and there’s a big gulf between “reasonable” and “slavery” that is just simply theft. But taking four years out of someone’s life by *forcing* them into the military?

                Ok, it’s not Slavery. It’s indentured servitude. Better?

                However … NCOs before commissioning understand better how their orders will affect the mission being carried out on the ground, are more grounded in results rather than minutiae, tend to listen to their NCOs rather than ignoring them when approached with concerns, and overall seem to have much more success in not killing morale and in winning the respect of their Soldiers. Maybe that’s just the sectors I’ve worked in during my career. It could be. I’m not combat arms.

                The kind of officer who can do as you indicate there (and those officers are a *treat* to work with) AND still operate as a O6+ are rarer than hen’s teeth.

                In today’s military there is less and less a need for the “leadership” of a O1-O4. Most Senior enlisted are well educated (meaning they can read and write in paragraphs even 🙂 and really can handle the Platoon Officer’s job. We put them there (today) because it’s tradition, and because that’s how they learn about the effects of orders on “The Men”.

                By the time someone’s 8 or 10 years enlisted, they’re of the age when they *generally* start to get set in their ways. You should be able to identify talented officer material before that, and as *soon* as you identify it, you should start working on it.

                You’re right that it’s different managerial skill sets at different levels. On the other hand, I will point out, which has more respect and prestige? The officer corps, or the warrant officer corps? The gateway to being a warrant officer lies through the NCO corps, and is very heavily guarded.

                Prestige? Staff grade officers.

                Respect? Staff grade officers.

                Unless you mean amoung the enlisted.

                And what do you mean real college vs. night courses? You trash-talking me?

                I’ve taken classes at 4 different schools over hte last 30 years. Two community colleges, a state school and a private college.

                Of those the state school’s classes (especially in technical areas) were a LOT more rigorous.

                If I was implementing the “Enlisted to Officer” program, I’d put them in a program that focused on political history and mechanical engineering. These are not things community/jr colleges are particularly good at.

                Then again, I still think that if you manage to graduate college (as I did) without being able to read Greek or Latin your school system failed you.

                • CombatMissionary

                  -Some of the most “low information voters” I’ve ever met where military or former military.

                  Yeah, I’ve met a few of those too, but the ratio is a lot lower, in my experience.

                  -Arrow of causality goes the other way. People believe in their nation because their nation is (in their perception) their tribe, so they are willing to see required military service.

                  I think it runs both ways. ‘Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.’ If people work to serve their country, they grow to value it. How many low information voters know that they’re living in a great country that treats them insanely well (for the most part), but actively hate it? You can’t love an institution, whether it be a marriage, a family, a church, an organization or a country if you’re not personally invested in it. You can respect it, but that’s about it, and even that’s pretty rare.

                  – You are requiring someone to *completely* surrender their life (and possibly lose it), giving them minimal to no input, moving them around the world with little or no say, subjecting them to boot camp etc.
                  And you don’t see this as akin to slavery?
                  Taxes (to a point) isn’t slavery, and there’s a big gulf between “reasonable” and “slavery” that is just simply theft. But taking four years out of someone’s life by *forcing* them into the military?
                  Ok, it’s not Slavery. It’s indentured servitude. Better?

                  It depends. If it’s an autocracy requiring it, then yes, it’s indentured servitude. If it’s part of the legitimately agreed-upon and codified laws of the nation via elected representation, then it’s duty.

                  -Prestige? Staff grade officers.
                  Respect? Staff grade officers.
                  Unless you mean amoung [sic] the enlisted.

                  Yes, I DO mean among the enlisted, which is relevant. That said, every time a new, previously unknown officer takes command, everyone is holding their breath to see if it’ll be a ‘good’ or a ‘pain in the ass’ or a placeholder or an incompetent or whatever kind of commander. But among the officers and enlisted I’ve dealt with, nobody is automatically assumed to have a high degree of technical and tactical proficiency and professionalism the way Warrant Officers are. They are accorded automatic trust and respect in ways nobody else is. But that’s just my experience. Either way I think it has a lot to do with having a lot of gatekeeping.

                  -In today’s military there is less and less a need for the “leadership” of a O1-O4. Most Senior enlisted are well educated (meaning they can read and write in paragraphs even 🙂 and really can handle the Platoon Officer’s job. We put them there (today) because it’s tradition, and because that’s how they learn about the effects of orders on “The Men”.
                  By the time someone’s 8 or 10 years enlisted, they’re of the age when they *generally* start to get set in their ways. You should be able to identify talented officer material before that, and as *soon* as you identify it, you should start working on it.

                  Yeah, compared to fifty years ago, the difference in education levels and many of the responsibilities held between senior NCOs and Platoon and Company level leadership is blurred. And people do get set in their ways right around a decade. I think it would be practical to cut the number of enlisted ranks. If people had to spend three years as an E-1, then were eligible for squad leader at E-2 and given NCO responsibilities, then successfully lead their squad for three years, and then they were eligible to promote to Platoon leadership as either Warrant or officer, you’d get the tactical and technical experience while still having lots of career time for a successful career as an officer. People who promoted more slowly would just not promote as far during their career. Or you could restructure and put the officers over Battalion-level and higher leadership. E-5 gets a squad, E-6 gets a Platoon, E-7 gets a Company, with the ability to commission and take a Battalion after E-5 or E-6 at six years in. That might be simpler. But since I’m not President-For-Life yet, it’s all purely hypothetical.

            • er…the 1911 was abandoned to go with the 9mm round for commonality with our allies, and larger capacity magazine, not any reliability issues. M4 carbine and M9 pistol are less reliable than a 1911 if they are given slightly less than ideal maintenance. The complaints were enough that they kept stuff in inventory for them due to SF and officers who stuck with something that will stop a nutter.
              A modern polymer pistol is not better and can suffer more issues than the metal framed duty arms. As for “modern design” they really are not. Those that are drastically different than the Browning design are even more unreliable in battle field conditions.
              Also, there is a reason that in the unlimited speed gun classes the majority of shooters are using 1911 variants over all the other designs, and those that are not, many are using other “antique” designs (CZ, High Power)

              • A lot of the 1911s the military had at the time *were* unreliable. Most of them were very old and worn and rattled like tin cans when shaken.

                • yes, but that was old age and multiple re-re-re-builds instead of replacement. They could have easily gotten new ones, but I do agree a larger cap was needed. The change to 9mm was an abomination in my opinion, but going with the 92 was no step up. and even as old as some of the 1911s were, the M9 is not lasting anywhere close to as long. There is not going to be any old worn M9s in service like some of those old 1911s
                  as an aside…an old timer used to call the Colt guns “Snakes”…they had the Python, the Cobra, and the (he’d pick up one of their 10911s and shake) Rattler (even a new Colt built 1911 rattled like a can of peanuts)

                  • yeah, the Sig was a better choice…

                  • CombatMissionary

                    I thought I read somewhere that some of those 1911s had fired literally MILLIONS of rounds by that point, and the slide rails were so worn from use that the slides would rattle back and forth LATERALLY. Knowing the Army, I can believe it.

                    • they had, and did rattle like crazy. they were so worn they started to have issues with grouping within the targets from what I had heard. Ex-bro-inlaw was a Navy SP and his was one of the better ones, It likely had under a million rounds through it, but he joked it was a close thing. He hated his issue 92 for the Sheffif’s Dept. It had a 12.5# trigger pull. As worn as his 1911 had been, he shot far better groups with it as it takes a lot of work to shoot a DAO at 12.5# and keep then in a small enough group.

              • William O. B'Livion

                1911 was abandoned to go with the 9mm round for commonality with our allies, and larger capacity magazine, not any reliability issues.

                The 1911 was abandoned because at the time (mid 1980s, when I was a Marine) the DoD hadn’t bought a new one since the end of WWII, and they were starting to rebuild the military after the depredations of the communists in the 1970s.

                But as you say the choice of 9mm was to be standard with NATO.

                A modern polymer pistol is not better and can suffer more issues than the metal framed duty arms. As for “modern design” they really are not. Those that are drastically different than the Browning design are even more unreliable in battle field conditions.

                Nonsense.

                Something around 50 percent of the police in America carry a polymer 9mm *daily*. Various SF units carry them on certain missions. I’ve got *friends* who carried them in Iraq, and while *I* was there saw more than one PMC with them.

                Also, there is a reason that in the unlimited speed gun classes the majority of shooters are using 1911 variants over all the other designs, and those that are not, many are using other “antique” designs (CZ, High Power)

                There’s a reason that you don’t drive a formula one car on the road.

                • didn’t say they were not carried. said they don’t last as long or take minor abuse as well. and they don’t. But if they are replaced regularly (instead of by aeons) that can be gotten over.

                • CombatMissionary

                  Honestly, as with cars, failures in firearms are often caused by lack of maintenance. I had a lady at work ask for my advice on picking a concealed carry firearm. She was asking me about HK and Glock etc. I told her that, honestly, I’d probably go with a .38 Special, because semi-autos CAN be reliable, but how many people do you know who actually disassemble them, clean them and oil them at minimum once a week (of course there’s about to be a bunch of hands in the air in THIS forum – “Me!” “I do!” “What kind of moron wouldn’t?”)? Semi-auto weapons CAN be reliable, IF they’re maintained properly. But IMHO, very few people who have them for concealed carry probably give them the maintenance they NEED to be reliable. A revolver, on the other hand, could sit in the bottom of her purse, collect lint, get candy stuck to it (although this should clearly be avoided), not get oiled, and if she needs to pull it out, it’ll still go bang. Most CQB gunfights among non-military in the US are over in four shots, and with proper training, speedloaders can help one reload almost as quickly as a semi-auto. We talked about the need for training, etc. as well. But that’s my $.02. Most fails are due to lack of maintenance.

                  On the other hand, when I went through the police academy, one firearms instructor gave me a crapload of grief because I carried a Ruger .45 ACP (it was what I could afford at the time). I think everyone in our class had failures at one point or another. My Ruger had only one failure, due to operator error. A Ruger .40 that another cadet carried started having problems one night, and the instructor had me take a look at it. She’d been firing all day with no oil, and it took probably 400 rounds unlubricated before she had her first failure. I saw failures with Glocks, S&W, H&K (Because We Hate You And You Suck), and others. Are there crappy guns out there? Yes. But once you hit a certain point of quality, most failures are due to lack of proper maintenance. I don’t think the 1911 would be as popular as it is for military, law enforcement and concealed carry if it was a crappy design, especially given that the design is over a century old at this point.

                  • Your reasoning in your advice to the lady is exactly why my CC is a 38 special. I want something that can be forgotten about until it’s needed, and still reasonably expected to work just fine.

                    The 9mm the Navy has are a horrible choice, objectively. They may be great guns, but every single qualification– not a huge group, between thirty and eighty people– at least one person will have their hand sliced open.
                    Even after being warned. The classes are usually after dark, so everyone is tired– but that’s exactly why it’s a bad choice. A weapon should NOT cut an otherwise competent user who happens to be too tired to keep their hand far *enough* down to avoid it.

  29. Civilization is a race between education–REAL education, not the crap that gets bandied about these days–and barbarism.

    We’re not stopping the barbarians. We’re not even slowing them down.

    Gird your loins, peeps, it’s going to get ugly.

    And if you think 9/11 was ugly, you don’t know what ugly is.

  30. I grew up in NYC. As a young man interested in electronics I remember being so annoyed when the World Trade Center was built, because to build it they had to tear down the Cortland St. neighborhood which was the home of almost all the electronic surplus stores in NYC. Those businesses were too small and poor to relocate and therefore closed.

    Year later some liberal friends of ours ran courses about Islam, and I learned that Islam was not a religion, but instead encompassed everything we think of as government, law, customs, and yes religion in one unified whole. To an Islamic the notion of separation of church and state was totally incomprehensible because how could you separate something from itself? To them our claims of freedom of religion were false because we had not allowed them to install an Islamic government, and were therefore not allowing them religious freedom. No one can be true to Islam and support the USA government, or any government other than an Islamic one.

    9/11/01 found us in CO. My wife called and demanded I turn on the TV (which I do not watch). I sat there stunned at what was happening. Not much got done at work that day. It was not until the next day that we learned that our nephews, two of whom went to school a couple of blocks from the towers, were OK.

    9/11/02 at 8 AM I was wheeling large trunks of test equipment into one of the US House office buildings in Washington DC. There were tanks and anti-aircraft batteries in the streets around the Capitol. To say things were tense was an understatement. The security forces were obviously afraid of a repeat attack. It took much longer than normal to get through security and into the building.

    The good news is that there has not been a large scale attack in the USA since. The bad news is that too many think nothing similar could ever happen again.

  31. Pingback: Silent Skies | Something Fishy

  32. The smoke plumes blew east that day, right over my neighborhood. I saw the towers burning from the roof of my school, then I saw the first one fall, and then the smoke was too thick to see anything more. Sheets of paper floated through the smoke, some of them singed; I snagged one out of the air as the ash rained down. Then we went back inside and prayed.

    There’s been a hole in the skyline since that day. Six months later the Tribute in Light shone, and for a week every year since then; and there’s a new tower now with a certain beauty of its own—but I remember the smell of the smoke and the ash, and the towers that used to be there.

    • I worked in 7 WTC up until May, 2001 when we moved to Jersey City. I watched (not on TV – through our window – great view of the city) first one plane, then the other hit the towers. Then we were all booted out of the building and told to go home. (how? I lived in Brooklyn).

      I remember it as a beautiful day, my commute taking me through the concourse below the WTC – NYC subway to NJ Path station. It was cool and felt like a beautiful fall day (I still can’t see a beautiful fall day and not remember).

      Anyway, I had no idea how to get back, but we went up to see if they were operating the other PATH tunnel to NYC (the south one went into the WTC and was offline, while the north one goes through the village to Penn Station). The train station was closed for a while, so we (many of us) went into the streets walking around. We were out on one of the piers (a park) watching the buildings burn – and the cops moved us off the pier (there is a hospital there and they wanted to run choppers in).

      I remember some lady complaining loudly about anthrax in the plane or something – I told her the high-heat would destroy anything so she didn’t have to worry (I lied – it sounded good – but my thought was the panic in a large crowd she could set-off would be more dangerous – and anyway we were upwind).

      As time ticked away I remember walking aimlessly through the streets in Hoboken. I got a cell-call from my uncle who had heard about additional “missing” airplanes. I didn’t hear about PA or DC until the next day. As we were on the street I could hear the construction workers (high up on a building they were finishing start to groan – no words really, just a loud long and low unhappy noise. I knew what it was. The towers were going down. The person I was with ran to the corner to get a better view – I just sat down on a stoop – that was one mental image I didn’t need to have that in my memory.

      Anyway, I went back to the train station – and by then they were starting to use the ferries to bring people over from Manhattan – so I volunteered there. The fire department was hosing everyone down (due to the dust) so there was a group of us with plastic baggies taking peoples phones, wallets, bags, etc., then walking around while they got hosed down then giving the stuff back to them. I remember two people in particular. One a tall black gentleman in a suit (well – he was white with dust when he came in) who lit up a cigarette right there. I told him with a sardonic grin that the cigarettes would kill him – he smiled. Then there was another guy who really didn’t want to get wet – he argued with the Fire Captain back and forth. Then at some point I think his brain kicked in and he realized what an a&& he was making of himself. He relaxed, got very thoroughly soaked and was a good sport about it.

      Funny thing, the fire department was told to hose everyone down. Well, that made sense while we were getting people covered in dust. By 2pm we were getting people from upper manhattan who had no dust on them, but the fire department kept hosing them down.

      I remember the saddest sight was the doctors standing by the ambulances looking for the choppers for the wounded that never came. One of those days were (for the vast majority) you were alive or dead. I did see some of those tags they put on people in disasters.

      At some point the trains were opened to people again and I made my way back home to Brooklyn and rejoined my Fiance and we went to my parents house on Long Island because the dust was too thick in the air. When I see snow falling, it makes halos around lights (I have very thick glasses) – well I saw those same halos that day. I told my neighbors to use my apartment because I had an A/C setup that would filter out the worst while they didn’t have any (they could take the dogs on the train to my parents house).

      Found out later our Fire Department in Brooklyn (Park Slope) was one of those decimated in the collapse, they were “on duty” to respond to large calls that day.

      I always hated the weird sculpture they had at the base of the WTC, the ball with what looked to be like a giants foot holding it aloft. Anyway, it survived although with a hole where a girder pierced it. I was strangely comforted when they moved it to Battery Park and I would walk past it on my new commuting route – which now included the ferry until the PATH could be pumped out again.

      Sorry for the length of this (and I really need to get back to work) but it seemed like the thing to do. I want to thank everyone on this list for posting and talking about these things. I don’t take the time to post – but I have lurked for a while and just want to say Thank You for allowing me to laugh at some of the things that are happening out there. Know that there is at least one other small home-schooling family who sees what you see and is working on protecting what is worth protecting.

      -John

  33. I’m an awful person. The first thought that ran through my mind was “This is taking architectural criticism a little far”.

    The second was “I’ve been expecting this for twenty years.”

    The thing about Islam is that it COULD be a reasonable religion, if it had gone through a Reformation. It hasn’t. It hasn’t been impressed on Islam how truly unpleasant life can get if you aren’t willing to try to get along with the neighbors. The West made a decent start on that in the 19th century, but the anti-colonialim/United Nations pattern of appeasing violent nuts and punishing heads of state that try to deal with them wiped out all of that.

    Bush made a good start again, and Jug Ears has screwed that to hell and gone.

    After 9/11 my Liberal acquaintance were SURE that what Bush was doing was the wrong thing, and I would shock them by agreeing. Then I’d say “He should have gone on television on 9/12, chosen the names of three islamic cities at random out of a hat, and nuked them into oblivion. And when the world squawked with outrage he should have said ‘There’s more where that came from.’ Nobody would have messed with us for at least 25 years, and probably more like 50.”

    They’d tend to scuttle out of my presence after that.

    That is what’s coming. One day the Islamofatheads will pull off a really BIG attack. Maybe a fuel-air bomb in Detroit or New Orleans (some city where the government has pretty much given up). And they will chalk up a death toll of 100,000 or more. And we really WILL Lose our tempers. When the smoke clears there won’t be a whole lot left of Islam, anywhere, and the Liberal enablers will be in prison contemplating REAL fascism.

    It won’t be good for us, becoming an Empire. It will be worse for the Middle East, though.

    I wish the nitwit Left had allowed Bush to send a clear object lesson. It really think that’s what he was after.

    Pity.

    • It didn’t need a Reformation. What it needed was a Pope who could tell people to pipe down. As it stands, all the imans have equal calling, and we get SJWs pointing to the innocuous ones to avoid noticing the extremists are of equal authority.

      • The “innocuous” imams are liars.

        Jihad Watch had a story about a Muslim who made it public that his mosque had ties to an “extremist”. He’s been declared a “hypocrite” using an Arabic term that essentially makes him an apostate. And, since in Islam there is “no compulsion in religion”, he’s essentially been given a death sentence.

    • “The thing about Islam is that it COULD be a reasonable religion, if it had gone through a Reformation.”

      Mark Steyn, among others, has written fairly compelling articles to the effect that Wahhabi jihadism *is* Islam’s Reformation, or an analogous internal upheaval: an attempt to strip away the inertia, unnecessary complexities and bad habits accumulated by history and return to the simpler, purer form of the faith. Unfortunately, that “simpler, purer” model of practice is a fundamentally aggressive, coercive and expansionist one, and lacking any central authority analogous to the Catholic Church’s Magisterium, settling on a “final” interpretation that forever pushes jihad into the “spiritual struggle” category as a religious practice is almost certainly never going to happen.

      The irony is that the closest thing Islam has ever had to a Pope is the Caliph, so re-establishing a Caliphate might be exactly what you would need to promulgate such a teaching. But the likelihood of any imam who would teach such an interpretation getting named as Caliph… well, let’s just leave calculating those odds as an exercise for the student. And even then, the Shi’a-Sunni split would still be causing problems — I don’t believe the Shi’a ever honoured the Caliph, and they are still waiting for their own messiah.

      • Say, then, Reformation and aftermaths. The Reformation was the beginning of the West’s learning that you must let your neighbor go to hell in his own way, even if you sincerely believe in Hell and are absolutely SURE he’s going there. Even now we are subject to fits of self-righteousness (although these days more often about diet than Deity). Islam hasn’t begun to absorb that, and to be honest we haven’t been helping. Post Colonialism, Self Determination, and so forth are all very well, but some cultures are superior to others, dammit, and when one tries to treat women and gays as equals and another treats the former like farm animals and the latter like fire starters, I know which one I prefer. And the only way to get Barbarians to behave in a civilized manner that has a consistent record of success is clobbering them when they transgress. Consistently and fairly thoroughly.

        Do I think that Islam will produce a modern free society? No. But I could be wrong. Do I think they will even try if we in the West don’t stand up and say,” No More!”? No.

        Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe God spoke to a n’er do well with a taste for Nine Year Olds, and gave him His plan for mankind. In which case, we will lose.

        But I doubt it, and think the world would be better if we impressed on the Islamists that certain forms of behavior are Not Done.

  34. Wayne Blackburn

    I was working on the helpdesk then. We had recently moved across town to a new building, and not long after the move, our primary client too their support in-house after a large merger with another company.

    After we heard the news, a few people started following the story online, with streaming video, a rather new thing, back then. Someone said they were worried that the tower (second plane hadn’t hit yet) would collapse. I responded that it wasn’t likely, as planes had hit the Empire State Building before and it was ok (kind of embarrassed by that one). Our call volume, which was not high anyway, since our big client was gone, dropped to almost nothing, as our other large client in Atlanta sent their people home from the tower where they worked. So the rest of the day, we kind of sat in shock and rather quietly discussed the repercussions.

    But the next day kind of overshadowed that one, for my family, and likely for several others. I was at my desk, as usual, when I got a call from a number I didn’t recognize. When I answered, it was my wife, but she was on a cell phone, and had really bad reception, because she kept cutting out. After making her repeat herself a couple of times, I figured out that she was saying I needed to get to the kids’ school, but couldn’t understand why. Finally, my team lead came over and said, “Go”. So I jumped up and headed out. When I arrived, I found my wife frantic. She told me, “I can’t find Chris (Older son)! There’s been a shooting, and now he’s nowhere to be found!”

    Needless to say, this was a tad shocking. I hopped back in the car, and headed around the neighborhood, looking for him. Drove up and down the streets for several blocks in every direction (this was before we moved to the middle of nowhere), and didn’t see any sign of him. Finally went back to the school, where one of the teachers had walked to our house, which was close nearby, and found a note on the door telling us that he had gone to his friends’ house.

    Now, you may say that we should have looked there first, but he was supposed to wait for his mother to meet him to walk him home at the time. The difficulty was that his younger brother got let out on the opposite side of the building, so she picked him up first and then walked around to the other side, where older son was. This day, she had gone in to sign up for some volunteer thing or other, and before she could get around to the other side, some woman walked up on the sidewalk and shot another woman (http://www.enquirer.com/editions/2001/09/14/loc_children_who_saw.html), and all the children and parents were herded into the basement. Once inside, and unable to find him, she panicked. Later, we found that he had left with his friend before the shooting, but it still bothered him for some time.

  35. I stopped to think today,as I always do on
    9/11 to the day it all happened and the weirdness of it. I was delivering office supplies for a living at that point. I heard about it on the radio.

    At first it was just the one tower. My coucin’s GF at the time worked at Detroit Metro Airport drug testing pilots. I was convinced the whole thing was the result of bad chemistry up until the second one hit. I stopped at my mom’s and watched the towers fall live on TV. And then the rest of the day, going from building to building and seeing the different reactions was a trip. I’ll never forget it. I hope it’s never repeated.

  36. Pingback: I’m proud to be an American – American Soldier Tribute – YouTube | Head Noises

  37. I say when we spend all this time wondering and speculating when the next hit will be it is good as a hit to those who hate us. They glory in our fear and bewilderment.

  38. This is what I sent in my email to the people I play granny pundit to every day, and also posted on my blog.
    I was a very young child in 1941, yet I clearly remember that day. I was much, much older on Sept 11th, 2001 and I will also always remember that day and remember it even more clearly.

    Both days changed my/our lives in many ways. Pearl Harbor affected the country as a whole, emotionally and physically. We overcame a lot, we pulled together, everyone had a stake in the game.

    9/11 was a shock to the fiber of our being and the country seemed to pull together briefly yet in truth we did not. Our country was still reeling and being torn apart by the absolute hatred that came about because of the election of 2000 and the long legal wrangling afterwards. The Democrats were not about to support George W. Bush in any endeavor for any length of time. The liberal media was also his enemy and as a result the whole of the United States of America has suffered for it since.

    I am 77 and I do not believe this schism will be resolved in my lifetime and I plan to live to a really old age. I have become very cynical of “the opposing parties,” I see the DOJ not enforcing the laws; I see the IRS and the EPA attacking conservatives to the point that if they were Republicans, people would have been jailed, perpetrators would have been outed, and their political lives and careers ruined.

    I did not listen to the President’s speech tonight. I actually wonder if he has the best interest of the American people in mind, and sometimes believe he does not. He sees us as a colonial power and has worked steadily to bring that power down. Can we get it back? I don’t know if we can.

    I do know that I have been trying to sound the alarm, something must be done. I am not in this alone, there are many like me. I wonder if this is just the typical elderly rant, things are going to hell in a hand basket. I would like to think so, but I do not.

    It is the young people who must make the difference. I wonder if they will.

    • CombatMissionary

      I’m just glad we’ve got people like you around with some experience who are willing to rant about it, instead of all our elders running around like damned fool hippies! Keep ranting. I figure it’s like being a parent: you tell your kids how things are, they ignore you, then when they get hit in the face, they start realizing that you’re right. If the parent’s not there, the kid would just do stupid stuff and get hit in the face over and over and not have the tools to start realizing WHY it’s happening so that they can learn HOW to change their situations. When the country’s hit hard enough and often enough, the words of their parents will come back to them and things will change.

  39. My company did the application service provide work (think: cloud) for the Port Authority of NY & NJ (housed in the towers). Our first inclination that anything was wrong was when the screen for PA of NY/NJ went red. We were working it as a server outage before someone looked at a TV screen and said, “Hey, guys…”

    I was in CA at the time so I woke up to the alarms from the outage and stayed up for the actual disaster, just in time to see the second plane hit live. What a day.

  40. Absolutely beautiful, Sarah.

  41. I was already planning to go to a Red Cross blood-drive that morning. After I heard the news, and then had time to get back to rational thought I immediately drove over. There were only a few of us when the door opened, but by the time I had my cookie the line to donate blood was around the block. At that time people still thought that there would be a lot of wounded survivors found in the rubble.

    compare and contrast:

  42. I remember that day very well. I had just gotten up, when my adopted sister called me. She lived on the East side of Indy, and I lived downtown, Her husband worked in Kokomo, about 30 miles away (North). She said. “A plane just hit the World Trade Center, and I have friends that work there. Can you come over? Jim (her husband) can’t leave, and I need someone here.”
    I got dressed, and got in my car to drive over. Just as I stopped at a Hardees (halfway there), to get some breakfast, the second plane hit. I stayed at her house, until it was almost time for her husband to come home. Her oldest daughter (one or the two “daughter’s of my heart) was in school. Her youngest (the other), was still at home. After lunch, Katy, took a nap. She stretched out on the floor, in front of me, with the TV on. A couple of times, she would roll over, wake just enough to see that I was still there, roll back, and go back to sleep. She didn’t understand what was happening, but she knew that I would die to protect her, her sister, and her mother, if necessary. I still would.
    I can say that although I am not their father, I am proud of the young women that she and her sister, as well as my adopted granddaughter, are becoming.

  43. I remember that day clearly. I walked my girls (then 8 and 5) over to catch the school bus. Walked back to my house and climbed in my car about 8:15 to start my 45-50 minute commute to Nashua NH. I was listening to NPR
    and they reported a plane had hit the WTC. There used to be a flight path over the city for small craft and most GA pilots would take it because it was really neat. So I figured it was probably a general aviation (think PIper Cub) plane trying to sight see and getting overwhelmed.

    I reached Nashua about 9am and there was an announcement that a second plane had hit the other tower. I immediately thought terrorist, although I still figured they’d stolen large GA planes or a small commuter prop jobs. I got into work and folks were already buzzing from the few internet sites and from the TV’s that were down in the cafeteria tuned to CNN.

    A bunch of us walked down to the cafeteria to see what was up. as we walked into the room the first tower collapsed. We stayed for maybe 45 minutes and in that time the second went down.

    The emotions were all over the place, some scared others baffled. Me I was just seriously angry. I wanted to break something badly.

    There is a Psalm, Psalm 58 that I always thought was seriously over the top in the sheer hate the psalmist (traditionally attributed to King David) showed. That day I understood what the psalmist had felt for the first time. I kind of wish I’d never had to understand it. Even now 13 years later pictures or descriptions of that day can bring those feelings back in a flash.

    Psalm 58 v6-11 (NIV)

    6 Break the teeth in their mouths, O God;
    Lord, tear out the fangs of those lions!
    7 Let them vanish like water that flows away;
    when they draw the bow, let their arrows fall short.
    8 May they be like a slug that melts away as it moves along,
    like a stillborn child that never sees the sun.

    9 Before your pots can feel the heat of the thorns—
    whether they be green or dry—the wicked will be swept away.
    10 The righteous will be glad when they are avenged,
    when they dip their feet in the blood of the wicked.
    11 Then people will say,
    “Surely the righteous still are rewarded;
    surely there is a God who judges the earth.”

    May all who act as those 19 jihadis did that day find out that the Lord is not only infinitely loving, but He is also infinitely just.

    • I wonder how many listeners NPR lost in the time since that day? I know that I largely quit their “news” coverage during the subsequent decade.

  44. I just read the 9-11 thread over at Crunchyroll, where the forums are heavy on kids. Saddest entry was about a kid who was four and eating Spaghetti-Os. Said they still make her feel sad. We had a tornado the next town over when I was four, and I thought that was bad, but sheesh.

  45. It was ~1700 and my wife and I were in Abu Dhabi(UAE) in our car with some friends pulling into the parking lot of our local grocery store. I had the radio on the AFRTS and suddenly the program stopped and I heard something about a plane crashing into a building in New York. I told everybody in the car to be quiet and we heard the news repeated of the first plane. I parked and went into the store where we heard what was happening. We all went back to our apartment and watched TV for the rest of the day. I was very busy for the next few weeks.

  46. I was staying at my parents’ place when it happened, having recently relocated and started a (relatively) new job. I was asleep when it happened, but my Mom apparently heard about it and the TV was on before I left for work. I’m not sure if anyone worked a full day that day.

    I hoped that when we responded to the perpetrators, that we were in for the long haul.

    One of my bosses was on a conference call with one of our clients located in the Towers when the planes hit. He said that he suddenly heard a bunch of yelling on the other end of the line, and then the connection went dead.