Thursday, September 11, 2014

September 11, 2001

The September 11 attacks (often referred to as 9/11, pronounced nine-eleven) were a series of coordinated suicide attacks by Al-Qaeda upon the United States on September 11, 2001. On that morning, 19 Al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked four commercial passenger jet airliners. The hijackers intentionally crashed two of the airliners into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, killing everyone on board and many others working in the buildings. Both buildings collapsed within two hours, destroying nearby buildings and damaging others. The hijackers crashed a third airliner into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, just outside of Washington, D.C. The fourth plane crashed into a field near Shanksville in rural Pennsylvania, after some of its passengers and flight crew attempted to retake control of the plane, which the hijackers had redirected toward Washington, D.C. There were no survivors from any of the flights.

In total 2,974 victims and the 19 hijackers died in the attacks. The overwhelming majority of casualties were civilians, including nationals of over 90 different countries. In addition, the death of at least one person from lung disease was ruled by a medical examiner to be a result of exposure to dust from the World Trade Center's collapse.

The United States responded to the attacks by launching a "War on Terrorism", invading Afghanistan to depose the Taliban, who had harbored al-Qaeda terrorists, and enacting the USA PATRIOT Act [of very questionable legal and constitutional justification, and already planned before the attacks]. Many other countries also strengthened their anti-terrorism legislation and expanded law enforcement powers. Some American stock exchanges stayed closed for the rest of the week, and posted enormous losses upon reopening, especially in the airline and insurance industries. The destruction of billions of dollars worth of office space caused the economy of Lower Manhattan to grind to a halt.

The damage to the Pentagon was cleared and repaired within a year, and the Pentagon Memorial was built on the site. The rebuilding process has started on the World Trade Center site. In 2006 a new office tower was completed on the site of 7 World Trade Center. The 1 World Trade Center is currently under construction at the site and at 1,776 ft (541 m) upon completion in 2011, will become one of the tallest buildings in North America. Three more towers were originally expected to be built between 2007 and 2012 on the site.

Image &
Below is a Repost from last year

Today is the [thirteenth] anniversary of the attacks on September 11, 2001. We had a Liquidator (specialist for completion of paper processing) at work named America, and I remember how upset she was when our Port Director waited several hours before sending us home. America stormed out before we got authorization. I think we finally were let go when it was reported that the Transamerica Pyramid was a potential target and was only two blocks away from our building. That apparent paralysis was similar to the response after JFK’s assassination, when my Junior High School principal waited an equally long time before allowing us to leave. I remember how my Dad picked me up in his car when I was half way home. There were no cell phones, of course, so there had been no coordination between us. He just wanted to find me.

On 9/11 Dennis had been called at home not to go into work at Lang’s Estate Jewelry. The first thing he did when I got home from Customs was to go to Sam’s, our Jordanian-American corner grocer at 23rd St and Valencia. Dennis wanted to let Sam know that we didn’t blame all people of Islamic faith. Then Dennis felt compelled to go grocery shopping. He wanted a free-range chicken and fresh produce.

Then of all things, Dennis and I went looking for a new refrigerator. But remember, while Dennis was working full time, we seldom had a day off together except for holidays. He worked Saturdays, and I was busy with church choirs almost all day Sundays. Dennis was diligent to arrange his various medical appointments on his regularly scheduled days off, usually Thursdays. As sick as he was the last few years, he took very little time off work. That’s another reason he was bitterly resentful when he was let go from Lang’s after their robbery on Sutter Street. (That’s quite a story for another time). He probably had a better attendance record than all the other employees!

As it turned out, being let go was a real blessing. It gave us almost three years with the most time we had ever had together. It also allowed Dennis to be in Iowa frequently for his Dad, Walt, and later to settle his Dad’s estate.

As we commemorate the horrible and tragic events of [twelve] years ago --that changed our country forever--it’s curious that one of my memories of that day was the purchase of a new refrigerator. Of course, like the assassination of President Kennedy, 9/11 was an event that people who experienced it will remember for a lifetime-- where they were and what they did.

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