During and after the attack on September 11, 2001, no one in America felt safe. Reeling from the horror of a common experience, our nation came together in a mutual state of shock. But where each of us stood that day is where our commonality ended.
Mike Flynn, from Breitbart News, was near the Pentagon on the morning 19 Islamic terrorists attacked our soil, and wiped out almost 3,000 precious human lives. He has graciously shared his experience as a witness near the horror.
You must first understand that it was a beautiful day. The sun was shining, with few clouds, and the temperature was hovering in that range where there seemed to be no weather. It was perfect. And, literally, within minutes everything would change.
On September 11, 2001, I made my normal commute through the Pentagon metro station. It turns out I went through the station about 20 minutes before terrorists struck the building.
Riding in the elevator at my office building, I mostly ignored the passengers talking about how a small, private plane had run into the World Trade Center. In my office, one of my staff told me that a “second” plane had hit the other tower of the WTC. Weird, but I had conference calls and meetings to deal with.
Looking back, I remember, that while I was focused on my daily work, my staff was gripped around cable TV. Within 15-20 minutes, the Pentagon was hit. There was no questioning then what was happening.
The streets of DC were absurdly quiet. They were packed with people, but no one made a sound. Occasionally, you could overhear a cell conversation, conveying rumors that the Supreme Court, the Sears Tower, or the Space Needle had been hit.
It took me 3 hours to travel 8 miles home that day. It took me far less time to drain a bottle of bourbon.
I’m very glad that my September 11 opens this year in peace and comfort. I do, however, miss the seriousness of purpose that the public possessed on September 12.
We live in a complicated and dangerous world. The fecklessness of the Obama Administration over Syria only reinforces this. The anniversary of 9-11 is a memory. Without a new focus, it will be a foreshadowing.