How’s this for a Throwback Thursday?
Today is not the anniversary of the attacks of September 11th, 2001. Perhaps that makes finding my journal as a high school senior even more chilling when I read my 9.12.01 entry:
“On September 11, 2001, horror and chaos reigned supreme throughout the day. Two passenger airliners were hijacked and crashed into the nation’s financial and economic symbols of power, the Twin Towers. One passenger airline was hijacked and crashed into our nation’s military symbol of power, the Pentagon. Another passenger airliner was hijacked and crashed into the ground 80 miles away from Pittsburgh. It was believed that this plane was headed for Camp David, the White House, the Capitol, or Air Force One. The Twin Towers collapsed approximately one half hour after they were crashed into. This is a day of infamy.
One day later, all of this still hasn’t sunk completely home yet. All buildings in Manhattan were evacuated, all government buildings in Washington, D.C. were evacuated, all national airports were shut down (and still are), the U.S.-Mexican border was closed, and all flights in process were ordered to land at the nearest airport.
The death toll has been expected to be enormous. In Pearl Harbor, right around 2,200 people, mostly servicemen, died. Already, the numbers are expected to be up to 5,000. All four passenger planes had a total of 266 people on board and all are presumed dead. After the Twin Towers were crashed into, police, firefighters, and rescue workers began helping people. Then both towers collapsed, killing and trapping 300 firefighters, 100 policemen, and thousands of civilians still in the towers. The ash was reportedly two inches thick, “falling like snow,” and so dense a person couldn’t see their hand in front of their face.
The person whom I think is the hero of this horrendous day, and there have been and will be many, is the pilot of the fourth passenger plane. He (I assume) knew that three other planes had been hijacked and crashed into targets, killing all on board as well as the most number of innocent workers as possible. Normally, hijackers only take over a plane by holding someone or a few people hostage and ordering the pilot to land somewhere other than the original destination. The hijacker(s) then ask for a ransom, land the plane, get the money, release the hostage(s), and have the pilot fly him/them back to their home or meeting spot. Well, not yesterday.
It has been assumed that a few people on the fourth plane made calls on their cell phones and reported that their plan had been hijacked. The pilot knew of the other three planes and decided that it would be better if the plane went down now instead of taking out another target and thousands more lives. Apparently, there was a struggle before the plane went down, but it crashed into a remote part of Pennsylvania, killing anyone aboard the plane, but no one else. According to the three men who called on their cell phones, they believed that they “were going to die anyway” and that they “were preparing to take them out.” These and rescue workers, policemen, and firefighters were the heroes of this unbelievable and unreal day of infamy.
It was found that all four transistors, I believe, were turned off of all the hijacked planes, ruining communication and radar tracking completely. Flight manuals were found in a van that were written in Arabic in the airport. These hijackers knew how to fly. I also think of them as “kamikaze” pilots, risking their own lives for their beliefs. It was also found out that the hijackers used knives and/or box openers to gain control of the plane. Pilots, stewards, and stewardesses are trained to go along with the hijackers since they usually don’t crash the plane into buildings.”
I wrote a poem on the following page:
Infamy (The Infamous Day)
We will not be felled so easily
The mighty U.S. stands
Routine to us comes feasibly
For freedom’s our one command
We may be bloodied, battered, bruised
And caught down on our knees
We stand again and think and choose
The smoke clears on the breeze
For one and all, we are the same
United we all stand
We know that war is not a game
As we hold each other’s hand
These enemies of ours who did
Strike our very heart
By killing victims who couldn’t bid
Good-bye won’t tear us apart
For as the scene unfolds on land
Unanimously we cry:
“We will make a mighty stand
For those people who have died.”