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Remembering History to Prevent Infamy

It was a beautiful, sun-drenched, late-summer morning. It appeared all was right in the world. The early day’s sun was still very warm, the smell of fall was in the air. I dropped my sons off for school and daycare. Jimmy had just started kindergarten, and Hunter was a very young preschooler. I was looking forward to having a cup of coffee and a conversation with my Father before I started the work day. Just another normal but very blessed day here in the friendly confines of the West Branch Valley.

As I was listening to “Imus in the Morning” on the radio, he reported a small plane had crashed into one of the World Trade Center buildings. It seemed odd to me due to the high visibility and beautiful weather of the day, but things happen in New York City.

It’s hard to believe 21 years have passed since the day I watched the unimaginable terror unfold right before my eyes. My Father, Stepmother Carol, and I had that cup of coffee, eyes glued on the TV. The conversation was much different than the normal, “How are the boys doing?”

Many of the evil how, what, and whys of the day would be revealed after the second plane hit the South Tower and with President George Bush’s address to the Nation that night. There would still be many questions to be answered in the years that followed. However, there was no doubt our great Nation was under attack by radical Islamic terrorists. The words Al-Qaeda, Taliban, Osama bin Laden, and Afghanistan were soon to be heard way too many times.

I remember President Bush’s statement, “We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them.” My thoughts at the time were, how many of these whack jobs are there? What nations are supporting their attacking of America? Followed by, we need to find and eliminate all in existence.

The pure evil of 9/11 perpetrated on the innocent by radical Islamic terrorists needs to be taught in every school and college in our Nation. And across the world, for that matter. That in the name of Allah and organized by Osama bin Laden, 19 jihadists executed 2,135 civilians from 90 different countries. They committed the ultimate hate crime against not only those with Judeo-Christian values, but those who support good over evil.

The horror of that day needs to be replayed and viewed by young Americans. No political correctness allowed. They need to be taught that there is pure evil that hides behind whatever means necessary. That there are people that just hate America and want us dead. The events of 9/11 prove they will stop at nothing to destroy our Nation.

It needs to be explained how they hijacked a commercial 767 loaded with 20,000 gallons of jet fuel and crashed it into the North Tower at 8:46 a.m. on the morning of September 11th. Then follow it up with United Airlines Flight 175, that I can still envision making that sharp turn over the Hudson and exploding into the South Tower.

There were 2,763 innocent victims that lost their lives at and around the site of the World Trade Centers. This included 157 souls aboard the two planes. The New York City emergency responders who gave their lives in the line of duty totaled 343 Firemen and Paramedics and 61 NYPD and Port Authority police officers.

These perpetrators of evil then crashed American Airlines Flight 77 into the west side of the Pentagon. The crash and inferno killing 123 military and civilian personnel on the ground and 74 passengers and crew aboard the plane.

The fourth hijacked flight on 9/11 is really where our War on Terror begins. United Airlines Flight 93 was fatefully delayed; this precious time gave the passengers and crew the opportunity to learn about the other attacks. Many had correspondence with loved ones. Thomas Burnett Jr. told his wife, “I know we’re all going to die. There’s three of us who are going to do something about it. I love you, honey.” Flight attendant Sandy Bradshaw called and explained to her husband she was boiling water and filling pitchers, and before she could say much more, “Everyone is running to first class; I got to go, bye!” America’s fight back began with Todd Beamer’s words which were picked up by an open mic “Are you guys ready? Let’s Roll.”

Flight 93, as history recorded, crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. All the innocent on board were lost even though they won the fight. The heroic efforts of the passengers and crew saved countless lives. The hijacked flight was intended to target Washington, D.C., and the Capitol Building.

The world I knew, and my children were growing up in, had changed forever that day. The words “Never Forget” should be accompanied by the actual video, as hard as it is to watch, and the commitment to educating younger Americans.

We must not allow conspiracy theorists to change the reality of what actually occurred that day. It was an evil attack perpetrated on the innocent by extreme Islamic Fundamentalists. It took only 19 terrorists under the direction of Osama bin Laden to execute the heinous attacks and bring America to its knees. Our future generations must understand how many evil individuals, groups, and countries there are that would like to bring the words “Death to America” to life.

Thank you to the United States Military, the Department of Homeland Security, and all Intelligence Agencies for protecting us from all things that go bump in the night and day.

Thank you to Police, Fire, and all First Responders for being there when most needed and running toward danger when someone is having the worst day of their life.

God Bless America.

Jim Webb