Dec. 11, 2001

Firemen at Ground Zero

Three months ago today, on a sunny Tuesday morning, 19 terrorists hijacked four commercial airplanes and deliberately crashed them into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and a rural area in western Pennsylvania. We’ve all experienced a wide spectrum of emotions since the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001. Here are some of my personal feelings about the attacks and their aftermath.

I’m outraged at those who have savagely assaulted our country. Every time I see those photographs of the hijackers, I stare at their faces and wonder how they could possibly be human. The mere mention of Osama bin Laden’s name raises my blood pressure. Never before have we encountered an enemy in such objective terms.

I mourn the loss of the thousands of American civilians who perished that morning. They were people just like you and me, with jobs, hopes and dreams, and loved ones who cared about them. Too many parents will celebrate Christmas without a son or daughter; too many children will face the new year without a mother or father — or both.

I feel strangely helpless, realizing that I have no control over what’s happening in our world. Our “war against terror” has been successful thus far, but that doesn’t really assuage my fears about our collective safety. Airplanes have been used as guided missiles, and first-class mail has become a vehicle for anthrax, a deadly biological weapon. How can we possibly defend ourselves in this environment?

I’m even slightly amazed that the attacks actually happened. The images of airplanes crashing into skyscrapers and the Pentagon engulfed in flames are still almost too surreal to believe or comprehend. Even now, as I occasionally watch past episodes of Friends on TV, I stare at the World Trade Center towers in the New York skyline and wonder how they can no longer exist.

Despite these mixed emotions, I also feel a sense of optimism about our country. People from around the nation have generously volunteered their time and donated money to assist their fellow citizens in need. Our government and military have bravely answered the call to defend our country and the world against terrorism. And our police officers, firefighters, and emergency personnel have rightfully emerged as modern-day heroes to us all.

Well, Christmas is only two weeks away. It’s always been a time of the year for us to count our blessings and spend time with our families and friends. But this year, we’ll certainly appreciate our loved ones and our country like never before.

I wish everyone a merry Christmas, a happy New Year, and peace on earth.

[ No. 10 ]

Photo credit: Thomas E. Franklin /
© 2001 The Record (Bergen County, N.J.)