Tuesday, September 11, 2012 04:40:59 AM by
As I watched from my New Jersey neighborhood that clear September morning 11 years ago, the smoke rising from the Twin Towers, many thoughts ran through my head. "How could this have happened? Who were these people and how did they get past our security and strike such a devestating blow?"
In the hours that followed, in the newsroom where I worked at the time, we learned of a group of passengers aboard United Flight 93 who had fought with terrorists in a failed attempt to retake their hijacked jetliner. What might have seemed like failure was really succes since the hijackers' bid to crash the fuel-laden craft into the U.S. Capitol or perhaps even the White House, ended in a field in Pennsylvania.
If ever there were heroes, it was these passengers, as well as the scores of first responders who plunged into the attempt to rescue people at 1 and 2 World Trade Center, as well as the Pentagon, and who later searched for survivors among the rubble, an effort that time has revealed has impacted the health years later of some of those rescue, police and fire personnel.
Later that week, I wondered what my friends and former classmates here in Arizona were thinking, as well as those in other parts of the country. Did they know what it must have felt like to live within a half hour of this tragedy, watching it unfold. It was one thing to see it on TV, another to gaze toward lower Manhattan and know what was going on.
I remember the visiting Arizona Diamondbacks played in New York that October, facing the Yankees in the World Series, and brought messages of condolence and encouragement to New York City. This past Sunday night, I watched television news accounts of the memorials being held in Tempe and other Grand Canyon State locations.
It was a lift, and should be for all of us, that these memorials are still going strong more than a decade after the attacks. We all should remember these acts, perhaps remember how we felt then, and use those memories to maintain our resolve that America stays forever the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.