Editor’s note: I wrote this column last year for the 10th anniversary of 9/11. Considering all of our elected officials in Washington continue to spend more time bashing each other than they do working for the common good, I thought it appropriate to run this again, with minor changes.
On Tuesday morning, September 11, 2001, I was in my office at The Henry County Record, a weekly newspaper in McDonough that I was Editor of at the time. I don’t work with a radio on, as I find it distracting, but the girls in the front office had their radio on and I could faintly hear it in the background.
About 8:50 a.m., I heard the girls’ voices get loud and excited. I walked out to ask what was going on, and they told me it has just come on the news that an airplane had crashed into one of the World Trade Center Towers in New York City. We had a small black and white TV that we kept for emergencies, and we turned it on to watch the news.
My first thought when I heard of the plane crash was that it was a military flight, like the B-25 bomber that crashed into the Empire State Building on July 28, 1945, while on a training mission, or a small sightseeing airplane. I never thought it would be a large commercial airliner. Then while we were watching the news, we saw the second airliner crash into the other tower, and a little while later, heard of a third plane crashing into the Pentagon in Washington, DC., and still later, a fourth plane in a Pennsylvania field.
Knowing that the crashes were being covered nationally, we went back to work on our own newspaper filled with local events, as it would be published the next day. We got it out on time, but shortly after, having listened to the news all day, thought that nothing would ever be the same again.
Today is the 11-year anniversary of 9/11, and our national politicians have proven my previous statement, that nothing would ever be the same again, to be wrong.
A few days after 9/11, Republicans and Democrats came together on the steps of the Capital to sing “God Bless America” in a show of unity for the nation and the world. They furthered showed unity in backing and funding the U. S. war against Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan, and later on, the invasion and occupation of Iraq.
The Homeland Security Agency was developed and implemented, and every time a threat has occurred, we are reminded by the news that we are at a particular threat color or level.
After almost 10 years, Navy Seal Team 6 accomplished the mission everyone wanted to see completed - confronting and killing the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, Osama Bin Laden.
Despite all that, I think Congress has forgotten what brought them together. Republicans and Democrats, joined by others who claim neither political party, but call themselves Tea Party members, spend their time in Washington doing their best to make the other political parties look bad and themselves look good. In the process, they have brought our country to the brink of bankruptcy, reduced our credit rating, and spend more time arguing about who is right and who is wrong than actually doing anything helpful.
Regardless of what you may think of him, Osama Bin Laden and his terrorists brought this country together with their despicable and heinous attack on thousands of innocent civilians in the World Trade Center. It is our own politicians, elected by us, that have split the country apart again. On the 11th anniversary of 9/11, I pray that it won’t take another major terrorist attack to bring our nation, and our leaders, back together again. How quickly they have forgotten.