It’s time to Break It Down!
The buzz for today, nationally as well as globally, will center, undoubtedly, on the potential for a “Syrian Solution.” Last night’s speech by President Obama and how much it did or did not move the dial on public opinion will naturally be integrated into most conversations on the subject.
Instead of focusing on this latest development of a saga that has been unfolding for the past two and a half years, I am going to re-post a “Break It Down” entry from two years ago. Today is the Twelfth Anniversary of Nine-Eleven; a day America can never forget. While I am hopeful, but not expectant, that President Putin, Secretary Kerry, or even POTUS will propose a diplomatic solution that will resolve the Syrian conflict, obviating President Obama’s need to execute or abandon his call for military action against Syria’s Assad, I ask that you please direct your attention to the horror that was September 11, 2001.
(From the Archives, September 7, 2011)
Do you remember where you were, Tuesday, September 11, 2001?
Next Sunday we will observe the 10th Anniversary of the day that has come to be known simply as, Nine-Eleven (9/11). That day 10 years ago, America lost, in one fell swoop, its blissful innocence, its long-standing appearance of invulnerability, and its deeply ingrained sense of security. By some accounts, what it retained is it’s self-righteous (some would say) belief in American Exceptionalism and entitlement; but that is a conversation for another post.
Suddenly we were at war, and the fight, had, uncharacteristically, come to us, straightway. This battle was personal, and it was on our home turf; no longer some shadowy ideological military exercise, or guerrilla warfare episode, played out on foreign soil, half a world away.
U.S. House of Representatives Joint Resolution 71 was introduced with 22 co-sponsors (11 Republicans and 11 Democrats) and approved by a vote of 407-0 on October 25, 2001 (with 25 members not voting). The bill passed unanimously in the Senate on November 30, 2001. The Resolution requested that the President designate September 11th each year as Patriot Day. President George W. Bush signed the Resolution into law December 18, 2001 (as Public Law 107-89).
On this day, the President directs that the American flag be flown at half-staff at individual American homes, at the White House, and on all U.S. government buildings and establishments, home and abroad. This year, President Obama has deemed the day one of National Remembrance and Service. President and Mrs. Obama will commemorate the day by spending time at the Pentagon, in Arlington, VA, at Shanksville, PA, and in New York, at the site of the World Trade Center Towers, the three sites of the four Nine-Eleven plane crashes.
The President, who will attend a function at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC, Sunday evening, plans to honor the victims, the respondents to the disasters, and the military personnel who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, and in other missions aimed at rooting out the terrorists responsible for the Nine-Eleven attacks.
Even a decade later, with ten years worth of context building, and development of perspective, the numbers behind Nine-Eleven are chilling. Nearly 3,000 people lost their lives, and thousands of others were injured, and many more sustained post-event trauma. Examples of the carnage include:
- 2,977 Victims killed (not including the 19 hijackers)
- 2,606 Killed at the World Trade Center Towers
- 125 Killed at the Pentagon
- 40 Killed in Shanksville, PA
- 87 Killed on American Flight 11/NYC World Trade Center North Tower
- 60 Killed on United Flight 175/NYC World Trade Center South Tower
- 59 Killed on American Flight 77/Arlington – The Pentagon
- 40 Killed United Flight 93/Shanksville, PA
- 19 Hijackers
- 246 Killed on the four planes
- 19 Hijackers Killed (on the four planes)
- 2,996 Killed on Nine-Eleven
- 411 Emergency workers killed at the World Trade Centers
- 341 FDNY firefighters killed
- 2 Paramedics killed
- 23 NYPD officers killed
- 37 Port Authority Police Department officers killed
- 8 EMT’s killed
- 658 Employees of Cantor Fitzgerald, L.P. (Investment Bank) killed; most of any employer
- 1,631 Bodies positively identified from World Trade Center Towers
- 1,122 Bodies (41%) remain unidentified
- Bone fragments were still being found in 2005 by workers preparing to demolish the damaged Deutsche Bank Building
- 72 Additional remains found in 2010 by a team of anthropologists and archeologists
A Medical Examiner will continue to try to identify remains in the hope new technology will lead to the identification of other victims. The death and destruction of Nine-Eleven led to the so-called Global War on Terror. Mostly the front lines have been in Afghanistan and Iraq. However, a central intent of the action has been to prevent a recurrence of Nine-Eleven-like events on U.S. soil.
The initial thrust began October 7, 2001 when the U.S., British, and Coalition forces invaded Afghanistan, and in March 2002, the U.S. and Coalition forces launched Operation Anaconda and the Taliban suffered significant losses, and left the region. In the interim, involvement in the region has ebbed and flowed, but the war, which the Obama Administration has referred to as Overseas Contingency Operation, continues. In exactly one month from today, we will have been in Afghanistan 10 years. However, months ago, the War in Afghanistan became the longest war in American History. We are already in the every day is a new record era.
U.S. Intelligence sources pointed to Al-Qaeda as the probable instigator behind Nine-Eleven. It’s leader, Osama bin Laden initially denied involvement. Over time, bin Laden became more emboldened; first conceding involvement, and ultimately admitted that he was instrumental in masterminding the horrific attacks. During his Presidential Campaign, Mr. Obama declared he would not relent on the hunt for Osama. The elusive terrorist was thought to be hiding in Pakistan. Mr. Obama stated bluntly that if reliable intelligence pinpointed bin Laden, he would deploy U.S. forces to find and kill him, which he did on May 2, 2011.
The good news is, over the course of the past decade, there have been no repeat Nine-Eleven events. That result is partly due to fastidiously focusing on prevention efforts, partly due to the fortuitous failure of would-be terrorists, and partly due to the fateful intervention of alert by-standers.
As we approach Patriot Day 2011, and a decade of Nine-Eleven memories, Americans are advised to be on high alert for potential incursions by terrorists, most likely of the lone wolf variety, where one person acts alone. So, “Calling All Patriots; Nine-Eleven…Ten Years Later,” let’s get ready for a Day of Remembrance and Service.
I’m done; holla back!
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