Nineteen Years Ago..

It was not “something some people did.”

I was driving east on the 101 loop headed towards the school to drop my step-son off. It was also the day of my anniversary. The plans for the day were light; as a consultant I had only a single customer lined up for the day at the catholic school I had signed a contract for earlier in the year.

For the evening plans, I reserved a limo to take my wife and I to dinner at the Italian restaurant from our first date. It was a quaint, but popular restaurant in Scottsdale. Our kids would be watched by the in-laws overnight so that my wife and I could have a long overdue evening alone.

Normally, I listen to talk radio during my morning commute, KFYI. On this day, however, I was playing one of the CD’s I had burned to be played in the limo on the way to dinner. As a hopeless romantic, I try very hard to make these moments special. I had received a voice mail from the limo company the night before saying all the other arrangements had been made – and charged to my credit card.

My stepson had to be at the school at 7:50 am. It was 7:32 am when my ex-wife called to tell me to turn on the radio. She said that there was an attack by jets in New York. I was like , “What do you mean, jets attacked New York?” and she said, “Just turn on the radio and listen!” Within a few moments, I could hear Dan Rather’s voice on the CBS radio broadcast emotionally describing that the World Trade Center was destroyed as North Tower had just collapsed. I was in a state of disbelief.

After I dropped my stepson off, I drove to the school where I had recently signed a year long contract to work on their IT systems. I was excited to get this work since it offered a chance to grow my consulting business. That day, it was anything but a happy moment.

I arrived at the school just after 8. The school principle, Sister Patricia, pulled me aside and asked that I help get all the TV’s in the classrooms turned on for the students to watch. For the next couple of hours, everyone in the school was watching the horrific events continuously replayed.

Children were asking questions and teachers were struggling to give answers for the kids to understand. A few members of the staff were visibly shaken; some were using tissues to wipe their eyes. It was no surprise that more than a few members of the staff were from New York city and the surrounding areas.

Shortly after 10 am, parents were coming to the school to pull their children out. Many had left work as rumors of possible attacks on Luke AFB in Glendale. Sister Patricia decided that parents could take their kids home. By 11 am, there were no more students. Some staff had hung around to continue watching the news. I did a few things but ended up leaving by 1 pm.

The drive home was eerily quiet on a day when traffic was usually bustling. There were no aircraft in the skies. Anyone who has lived in Phoenix knows that aircraft are always in the skies above. Not on this day. Mostly, the faces of people whether on the street or in their car had the look of shock. Some were even crying. But a lot of us were mad.

For the next several hours, I sat and watched as much of the analysis and footage as possible. I remember the President’s address that night, thinking to myself what was he going to do next. Conversations with family and friends on the phone were sad, but in most cases turned to anger. The news media speculated it was Al Quaida, you know.. “some people who did something.”

The world had changed. Americans across the country had united against a common enemy and stood behind the President as he took us to war. The American flag was a symbol of strength and unity and people hung them up in their homes, places of business, wherever they could as a show of defiance and determination to a bunch of terrorists. American troops got most of them early on. The mastermind got his some years later at the hands of Seal Team six in his last instance of cowardice, hiding behind women and children.

Today, we face a very different enemy today and it’s from within. A few sitting US congresswomen believe our country is responsible for the deaths of those in the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and the aircraft that crashed into them. It’s hard to believe that after 9/11, many more people in this country have a very different view of what America is about. The people who died that day in those buildings did not deserve their fate. They were innocent victims of a hateful ideology and perpetrated by evil men who cared little for their own lives, much less those they took. And shamefully, we have elected officials who openly challenge that rightful view and are gladly supported by members of the left.

I am still moved by the events of that day. What decent American wouldn’t be? I pray for the souls of the victims, their families, the young men and women who took the fight to the enemy, and for all those who supported each other as Americans through long wars that followed.

May God continue to Bless the United States of America. We will never forget.

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