Seeing the second plane fly directly into the second tower was, for me, more horrific than watching any hi-tech, science fiction movie produced by Hollywood.
It was my first year of employment as the Development Director of a Quaker School in West Chester, Pennsylvania. I was in my office on the second floor when a secretary shouted for everyone to come downstairs quickly…an emergency was unfolding on the office television.
Standing there, watching the live drama on TV, I realized that America was under serious attack by Evil. Nothing and no one was safe.
I watched as the second plane hit the second tower then heard the announcer comment on the fatalities from the plane that had crashed into the Pentagon in DC. The World had gone crazy!
Just maybe the plane that crashed into the Pentagon had missed its target----just-maybe it had been meant for the White House or The Capital. I had to know about my oldest daughter Myra, an employee of the US Senate, was she safe?!?!?
I tried to call her cell phone but there was no connection. Frustrated and afraid, I tried her office phone. No one answered and most concerning...it didn’t go to her voice message. I was worried.
The school secretary walked over and touched my shoulder. “You have a phone call on hold. Some man from DC insists on talking directly to you. The man refused to give me his name.” Hesitantly, I lifted the phone, afraid of what I might hear yet desperate to know. With relief…I learned from a Capital Policeman that he was delivering a message from my daughter and....She Was Safe!
He carefully explained that, when everyone in the Capital was evacuated, my daughter, Myra-- along with other key Senate Staff and specific documents-- was escorted to an underground bunker. The Capital Policeman explained that, in the event The Capital was attacked, those staffers would be safe and… able to maintain Congressional records for the future… while identifying and preserving any and all surviving documents.
Weeks later, I realized how vulnerable each of us is on any day… at any time. For most all Americans, Life would never be the same. We would never feel safe again. The United States had been physically-attacked in New York City and Washington DC but…all of America had been emotionally-attacked that sunshiny day, and none of us could ever forget September 11, 2001.
I recall talking to my daughter about that other plane, flight 93, that had crashed in Pennsylvania…the state where I was living on 9-11. My daughter had been told--by secret service-- that top officials had reliable information that flight 93 was headed directly for The Capital. Army Jets were immediately scrambled to locate and re-direct that plane. Most were aware that “re-direct” meant pilots had orders to shoot-down flight 93 when it was far enough from towns or cities.
The passengers on Flight 93 were heroes because they dared fight the terrorists, those who were hell-bent on crashing into buildings--- murdering innocent Americans. Those passengers realized they were a flying bomb…meant for total destruction. They couldn’t change the plan but…they were determined to re-direct the bomb’s target and its mission.
Whether the military jets were responsible for ending flight 93 or the hero-passengers onboard were the first to rectify the problem….really doesn’t matter. The plane was successfully destroyed before it reached its intended target.
Everywhere on that tragic day, we watched people unify to help others. That day, America proudly showed its true colors---red, white, and blue.
Reality tells us, shows us, that any day… can be a repeat of 9-11.
WE MUST NEVER FORGET.