Tuesday Sept. 11, 2001-“Let’s Roll”

English: World Trade Center, New York, aerial ...

Like many others, I’m recalling the day 11 years ago when the terrorists attacked us on that frightful day. I lived in Boston at the time, working downtown. The weather was beautiful, it was a perfect fall day. When I heard about the 1st plane I thought it was a plane off course. When I heard of the second plane, it quickly hit me that we were under attack.

My coworkers and I watched on TV for a while, in awe and horror as the buildings were collapsing and people jumping from the floors. Growing up I always heard stories about where people were when an event happened, like the Pearl Harbor attack, President Kennedy assassinated, etc. I’ve watched documentaries and movies about the events but here I was watching it in real life and in real-time.

Just as that feeling sunk in, the call came down to evacuate the building. At the time, officials felt there could be more buildings and people in danger. Adding to the fear I felt I tried to call my cousins in New York but the phone lines were down.  That just added to the fear and frustration but eventually I learned they were all safe. Thank God.

When I got home to Watertown (after about two hours of traffic) I was able to speak with my mother and friend Brian O’Brien out in California. The news was still new to him as California was still waking up. My anger gave way briefly to joy when I heard a plane in the sky and looked up to see a US fighter jet. My other friend and roommate Brian Torpy got home and we tried to process everything as best we could. We had so many questions:

  • Who did this? Why?
  • What is happening to the people in the tower?
  • How many planes/terrorists are there?
  • How can people live in this country for years, enjoy the benefits of our free society and then actively try to destroy it?

In the end it was simply an attack by disillusioned people, terrorists that murdered many innocent people. But out of the ashes came some hard learned lessons and stories of bravery:

  • When Americans are in need, we must have each others’ back, regardless of race, color etc.
  • We must remain ever vigilant, long lines at the airport aren’t fun but more pleasant than a terrorist attack.
  • Thousands of acts of heroism occurred that day. There are too many to mention but to me, they define this event. So many people gave of themselves to help others live.  Firefighters and police, but also people from all walks of life. Some examples are Welles CrowtherFrank DeMartini and Pablo OrtizJohn McLoughlin and Will Jimeno  as depicted in the movie World Trade Center and the leaders of flight 93, Todd Beamer (and many others on the flight), famous for his last words “Let’s Role” that fought the terrorists for control of the plane and foiled their plans, as depicted in the movie Flight 93.
  • We must never forget the pain, sorrow and above all, the heroic actions from that day.

That’s my take.

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