Where were you?
By Tom Woerner
The tenth anniversary of a day that will forever change history is coming up in a couple of weeks and it is an appropriate time to reflect on that awful day when America was attacked on our home soil for the first time in more than 50 years.
The words of the Alan Jackson country hit say it best. The words are “Where were you when the world stopped turning that September Day.” Most of us will never forget.
Like Pearl Harbor of a previous generation almost every American who was old enough to remember 9/11 knows exactly where they were when news of terrorist attacks came from our televisions, radio stations or computers.
I can see the exact place on the floor of this room where I now sit where I froze in place when someone told me a plane had hit the World Trade towers. I can look around the corner where a co-worker and I stood, silently praying people could get out of the second tower after the first one had collapsed.
It was only minutes before we started calling friends and family members making sure all were OK. Some rushed to the schools to be with their children trying to explain the unexplainable. Others of us waited for news with so many questions.
Where was President Bush? We prayed our leader was not in danger himself. We found out almost no one in the world knew. History would show he quickly left a Florida classroom where he was speaking to go into hiding, making his way to different locations on Air Force One.
Where was the next attack going to occur? The first answer was a Pennsylvania field where brave heroes forced the crash of an airliner on its way to tear into the White House or likely the Capital. America will never knew what the brave band of air travelers, turned into amateur warriors, prevented. A direct strike on the Capital would have likely frozen the American government in place and killed many of our lawmakers. Chaos in the nation’s capital would have quickly turned to gridlock.
Through all of this mystery and speculation those of us in the news business slipped back into work mode as we basically started the paper over again even past the normal deadline. Each staff member took a different role. One of mine was talking to someone on the phone who watched the disaster unfold from afar.
It is hard to believe it has been ten years since that horrible day. It is unbelievable that American soldiers are still fighting the war Osama bin Laden started. The only unfortunate thing about the demise of bin Laden at the end of a Navy seal rifle is that he never saw the final demise of his organization.
Every citizen in this country should remember the motto of those of us with an interest in history. It is absolute fact that if you don’t remember the past you are doomed to repeat it.
Americans need to realize the unthinkable, another attack, may well be in the planning stages. We should never forget the brave firemen who lost their lives going into those doomed buildings. The citizens who died, in what have been a living hell, in unthinkable fear have to be remembered.
America is winning the war on terror but we must never move to the state of complaceny that opened the doors for our enemy the first time.