Do you remember September 11th?
While you and I do, plenty today do not. Those college age and younger don’t have any recollection. Even those in their mid- to late-twenties may have few if any memories of the day or its significance.
I certainly remember it.
It was on the Second Tuesday of September, 2001. We had our monthly GSL meeting scheduled for that evening and I had a cold. I had already called in sick when a very close friend called me and said to turn on the TV. “We’re under attack,” he said.
Half under the influence of a double dose of Formula 44, I turned on the old 25″ CRT television about thirty seconds before the second plane slammed into the World Trade Center.
Not too long after that, more bad things happened. The towers fell to the ground killing workers, brave first responders who charged into the buildings to rescue people, and plenty more on the ground. Another plane slammed into the Pentagon. Another crashed in Pennsylvania.
Everyone felt a sense of dread and helplessness. “What’s next?” we all wondered. At the same time, we all saw the horrific images of people jumping to their deaths and the tremendous destruction following the buildings’ collapse. We heard the sounds of dozens of emergency beacons sounding all at once on fallen firefighters. It left everyone almost in a daze.
We continued with our Guns Save Life meeting that night. On the way to the meeting, I noticed that gas had gone from $1.29/gallon to $1.99 and people were lined up to fill their tanks. More than a few stations even bumped their pump prices to $4.99/gallon, driving even more people to fill up at the $1.99 stations.
With flights grounded and gas stations running low on gas (or even running dry), we still had a very well-attended meeting in Urbana at the Jolly Roger. We had an entire contingent from Springfield and people coming an hour or two away from other directions as well.
We tried to maintain some semblance of normalcy.
Dean Rothermel (above… remember him?) talked about some newly imported Mausers without any proof markings. We talked about the disaster and said a prayer for those missing and those lost.
In the days afterwards, we learned of the great heroism of many who perished. Exceptional people died that day. One in particular stood out to me: Rick Rescorla. If you’re not familiar with his life (and his death), pour yourself a drink and read the New Yorker piece entitled, “The Real Heroes Are Dead.” Yeah, it’s fairly long. Have some tissues close by as it’ll get dusty. What did America do to be blessed with men like Rick Rescorla?
Later we learned of who was responsible for the attacks and the failures of our government to stop them.
And we found ourselves saddled with a new government agency, the TSA, which conducted security theater, taking fingernail clippers from airline passengers and pilots alike because that tiny little inch-long nail file might be a knife. We soon introduced things like “TSA touching” into our lexicon as TSA agents groped old people and children in the name of airline security. And pretty soon these same TSA folks were “protecting” our buses and trains as well.
We also got the “no fly lists” which some anti-gunners are still trying to convert into a prohibited persons list when it comes to guns as well.
Some even said the terrorists won by how they pushed Americans to surrender some of their liberty and freedom for temporary security. We all know what Ben Franklin said about that.
Almost everyone knew someone impacted by that attack. Either friends or family lost, or friends or family involved in the cleanup, forever scarred by what they saw and did.
We owe it to those who perished and those whose lives were forever changed, scarred or left with the loss of loved ones to never to forget that attack. We owe it to them to make sure our children and grandchildren know just how terrible it really was. Just as our parents and grandparents told us about Pearl Harbor.