Twenty Years On

I’m not really sure what to say. Most of what I’ve been thinking has been shrouded in cold anger laced with sorrow. The abyss has been looking back at me recently, and that part of my personality needs to stay quiet and under control. Meditating on September 11, 2001, and events since then inclines me to loosen the chains binding that . . . anima . . . and allow her free rein. Those around me don’t need to see that.

The United States was attacked. In the years that followed, Great Britain (London bus bombings) and Spain (Madrid train attacks) were also hit. Almost 3000 people died on September 11, 2001 in the World Trade Center towers, the Pentagon, and on Flight 93. Others likely died because organ transport flights were grounded with all other air traffic. Air ambulance flights were permitted on the 12-13th, under very, very strict limits, then other types of aviation returned to the skies. The Hudson River corridor even reopened, much to the surprise of a lot of us in aviation. the DC area remains in effect a no-go-zone for the average Sunday flyer.

The United States was attacked. Don’t forget that. No matter what the current pundits claim, or insinuate.

We’ve been critiquing and rehashing everything that came after ever since. “No Blood for Oil.” “Not in my name.” “Don’t Invade Iran.” (That one always left me scratching my head – no one WAS talking about invading Iran.) Now . . . I’m staying away from current events for a reason.

Don’t forget. Tell younger people where you were, what you were doing, what you thought. Tell them the truth as you remember it. Tell them about the bravery and courage, the sacrifices and the efforts that followed. Tell them also about who celebrated the attacks, and why.

Lest we forget, lest we forget.

[Actually, I think I can say one thing I’ve decided on. I’m not one of the Winged Hussars. I’m one of the ones inside the Gates of Vienna, doing everything I can to hold onto civilization and what’s of value, and to help the defenders, so that there’s something left when the relief forces arrive.]

Those who know will know.

15 thoughts on “Twenty Years On

  1. Few are the Winged Hussars, if any exist in this gloryless conflict.
    But we’ve got plenty of Picts.

    A Pict Song
    (‘The Winged Hats’ —Puck of Pook’s Hill)

    Rome never looks where she treads.
    Always her heavy hooves fall
    On our stomachs, our hearts or our heads;
    And Rome never heeds when we bawl.
    Her sentries pass on—that is all,
    And we gather behind them in hordes,
    And plot to reconquer the Wall,
    With only our tongues for our swords.

    We are the Little Folk—we!
    Too little to love or to hate.
    Leave us alone and you’ll see
    How we can drag down the State!
    We are the worm in the wood!
    We are the rot at the root!
    We are the taint in the blood!
    We are the thorn in the foot!

    Mistletoe killing an oak—
    Rats gnawing cables in two—
    Moths making holes in a cloak—
    How they must love what they do!
    Yes—and we Little Folk too,
    We are busy as they—
    Working our works out of view—
    Watch, and you’ll see it some day!

    No indeed! We are not strong,
    But we know Peoples that are.
    Yes, and we’ll guide them along
    To smash and destroy you in War!
    We shall be slaves just the same?
    Yes, we have always been slaves,
    But you—you will die of the shame,
    And then we shall dance on your graves!

  2. Never forget, never forgive…

    Capt Larry Getzfred, Capt Jack Punches (ret), AW1 Joe Pycior. Navy Watch Center, 9/11/01.

  3. “Don’t Invade Iran.” (That one always left me scratching my head – no one WAS talking about invading Iran.)

    That’s an extremist progressive go-to. When my little brother got to do some cool Navy flight exercises in Portland about 15 years ago, a lot of people didn’t pay attention to the information that black Navy helicopters would be flying around between the sky-scrapers and the local progressive paper was TOTALLY SERIOUS and respectful about publishing the office worker whose entire statement was something like “when I looked up and saw a black helicopter with people in military uniforms hanging out of it, I knew we’d invaded Iran!”

    Brother still has a copy of the paper somewhere because that was just too funny.
    “Hey, we’ve invaded Iran for no apparent reason, so now go fly around Portland office buildings!!”

    Us, who grew up with the jets from the wet side Navy bases practicing “how to fly in mountains” in our valley:

    • If helicopters fly around Portland OR after we invade Iran, I wonder what the USN will do after we invade, oh, Germany again? Conduct exercises on the Platte River in Nebraska? 😉

    • A-10s practicing contour flying in the Ozarks. Sounded like they were going to land on the roof. “Must be at war with Rooshia!”

  4. No nation in earth has more experience or more success in dealing with terrorism than ste modern State of Israel. Shouldn’t we have learned from them?

  5. “Don’t forget. Tell younger people where you were, what you were doing, what you thought. Tell them the truth as you remember it. ”

    Tell them what? Everything I can remember about that day sounds insane.

    I remember hearing about the first plane and thinking it must have been an accident, like the story from 1945 of a B-25 hitting the Empire State Building on a super-foggy day.
    I remember hearing about the second plane and realizing it was an attack, certainly terrorists, almost certainly islamist fanatics.
    I remember not being all that surprised — I knew that it certainly wasn’t our strong defenses that had protected us from a major terrorist attack before that day. It was just blind luck.
    I remember watching/listening to the news all afternoon and evening (the big local radio station actually did a better coverage job than any TV station), and hearing a stunning, bewildering array of rumors, reports, claims, and suspicions: car bombs at CIA and the State Department and all over Washington, planes flying transatlantic that had dropped off the radar and were presumably also hijack victims, assassins targeting George W. Bush … All of it turned out to be false, except for the “assassins targeting the President” one — that one I’ve never seen convincingly debunked.
    And I remember wondering first if we could identify the perpetrators, and second what our government was going to do about it. War was obvious, but with whom, and how serious would we be about it?

    See what I mean? Insane, all of it. Especially the part about not being terribly surprised.

    • I don’t recall being surprised, but that might be because I was numb. The complete confusion on NPR, trying to make sense of what had happened. The huge airplane tails, one black with a crimson maple leaf, towering over the little terminal in the airport where I was based. The prayer service, and the rage, the growing rage and anger in Small Town Flat State about what had just happened. And knowing that the world of aviation had changed forever.

      As you say, chaos and almost impossible to believe.

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