We can all do it. Most likely, we’ll be able to do it years from now as if it just happened. September 11th, 2001. Ten years ago, America was attacked on our own soil by a group of religious nut jobs whose sole purpose was to kill. Men, women, children, Christians, Muslims, Jews…it didn’t matter, they didn’t care. Someone bent religion again enough for some weak, mindless pawns to crash passenger jets into a building, while believing they were doing God’s work.
We all found about it at different times. Some were there from the beginning, others came in after the first plane and watched in shock as another came in…and then reports of a third. When would it end, when would it stop.
For me, it had been another typical day in the life of a morning show disc jockey. Up at 2:17am, into work by 4, writing and putting together another show. The day before, we had interviewed an author of a new book that was all based on real calls to 9-1-1. So, he felt it timely to release it around September 11th, for promotional purposes. It was a five minute piece or so and we had developed a little habit of playing our interviews early for the 5:50am crowd….and then sneaking it back on around 8:20am, killing two breaks with one decent bit. This wasn’t one our best, but it was ready to go, edited down tightly and after the song that was playing, we’d check traffic and with a quick intro, launch into the bit.
But while the song played, we saw on the TV monitor in the room ‘breaking news’ that a plane had crashed into one of the twin towers. That was too bad. Probably some pilot getting too close in his Cessna. After all, this was back in New York City and there were plenty of disturbed people there.
But right before the song ended and we began to put our headphones on to talk on the radio, they were now saying commercial jetliner. We did our disc jockey thing, got the bit going….but then dumped out of it a minute or so in…..as we began to follow the events of that morning.
I know the tapes of that show exist somewhere and I’d love to hear it again…because the rest of the morning was spent with listeners on the air, talking about what they knew or had found out, breaking the news to people, hearing from folks who had relatives back there, sharing the grief.
As we witnessed one of the darkest days in our country’s history together, we also saw it at it’s best: united, non-partisan, working together to defeat a common enemy. It didn’t last long and soon it was right against left even worse than before, but for me, it was reassuring that it could happen.
My heart goes out to the families of the victims. The wives that kissed their husbands goodbye for the last time that morning without realizing it. The kids who were dropped off at a daycare in the Trade Center, never to see their family again. Brutality has been present throughout humanity and in this day and age, it’s unimaginable to think that someone would conceive of crashing a jet into a building like that for idiotic reasons. But as much as they envisioned themselves doing this to honor their god, I’m counting on the God of my beliefs having a nice, toasty warm place for them to dwell for all eternity.
God bless America.