Has it really only been nine years since that terrible day on September 11th when it seemed like the world around us was ending? If asked, most Americans will recollect exactly where they were and what they were doing at 8:46 that morning. Some were at work, others in school, the grocery store sitting at the table drinking their morning cup of coffee watching the Today Show as the first plane crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center and others were still in bed sleeping safely in their beds no knowledge of the fateful events until much later in the day. Children who were infants at the time are now approaching ten years old and have little to know knowledge of the events that transpired that fateful day only learning about it in social studies class. Children who were ten years old in 2001 are now off to college or out in the working world their view of September 11, 2001 being one of a situation past tense some not even remembering the day other then being in school. To those of us adults who do lived through it, we will always remember it as the day we were under attack from unknown forces on our homeland. When the first plane hit, the most obvious thought was what a tragic accident! Did the pilot have a heart attack mid-flight? After all, no one had the knowledge aforethought to even imagine persons so diabolical to think of terrorists hijacking a plane and purposefully flying it into the tallest building in New York City on a suicide mission. After the second plane hit the south tower 17 minutes later, it became painfully obvious that this was no accident.
A total of four planes were hijacked on September 11, 2001 with the first two crashing into the North and South Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, the third crashing into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. and the fourth, intended to also crash into U.S. Capitol or the White House before passengers took over the plane from the hijackers, crashed right here in our home state of Pennsylvania into an open field near Shanksville, Stonycreek Township in Somerset County. 2,996 people perished that day including the 19 hijackers. On United 93, 40 American heroes died that day. Being the last hijacked plane still in the air having not reached their target destination, this small group of people, had the unique but still unfortunate experience of knowing that they were never going to reach their destination of San Francisco, California. Knowing their hijackers planned not only to kill all forty passengers but also to take out as many human lives as they could in Washington, D.C., the passengers fought back against the terrorists and took control of the plane sadly too late to save their own lives but saving the lives of hundreds to thousands of people that may have perished too had the plane made it to D.C.
The 9th anniversary of 9/11 was held today, Saturday, September 11, 2010 at Lower Manhattan in New York City at the ground zero. In the past nine years, this was a solemn event, a gathering of families and friends and others who wanted to commemorate the day that so many lives were lost unnecessarily all in the name of hate. Unfortunately, remembering 9/11 took on a whole other meaning one focused less on unifying us as Americans and became more centered on politics and protests. In recent months, a proposed Islamic center and mosque to be built near ground zero became newsworthy as protestors, who are against a mosque being built at the former site of the Twin Towers, venomously object against a building of Islamic faith occupying space near the revered place where so many Americans lost their lives due to the actions of radical Muslims. Americans polled believe that it is insensitive to build the center and mosque of all places at ground zero and called for Islamic leaders to change the location which they refuse to do. In response to the former, this mosque issue took on a life of its own to the extent that someone suggested that a gay bar catering only to Islamics and Muslims should be built next to the Islamic center and mosque in the attempt to show supporters that there are many forms of insensitivity. Just this past week, Terry Jones, a pastor of a small church in Gainesville, Florida, threatened to burn 200 copies of the Quran if Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, leader of the Cordoba Initiative that is planning to build the center, did not agree to move the site away from ground zero. Despite the fact that Jones halted his plan and following the 9/11 memorial service for victims killed at ground zero, demonstrators against Park 51 took action: a man from North Carolina reportedly burned pages of the Quran while another protester from our own home state of Pennsylvania tore out pages of the Islamic holy book encouraging the anti-mosque protesters to buy it to use as toilet tissue.
Today of all days was supposed to be a day of remembrance for the victims and fallen heroes lost to us nine years ago, and while those memorial services were still held, it was the pro and anti-mosque protests that were the most newsworthy. Nine years ago hate killed 2,977 Americans. That was the day the Al-Quada members decided it was time to show the United States that they were a powerful organization assigned the task of retribution against Americans in response to alleged Muslim oppression and massacres. Ironically, it was the events of September 11th that brought us together as a nation. For a short period of time, we were too overcome with grief at the mass loss of lives and horror at actions of the perpetrators of the crimes. What occurred that day was nothing less the murder of innocents. And we came together united and proud proclaiming to never forget. Sadly enough, it seems like many have already forgotten. We would expect that the younger children of that time period would forget, after all, most of them ranged in age from infancy to elementary school age, but for adults who lived the 9/11 tragedy, there is no excuse! Mosque protestors could have chosen any other day but today to demonstrate, but they chose this day of all days to mar and overshadow what should be simply a day to remember and unify once again if even only for one day. There will be extremists in every walk of life certainly politics and religion being primary. It was the religious and political views of radical extremists proclaiming Jihad against the United States that led to hijackers overtaking the four planes on September 11, 2001. That hate has once again resurfaced on September 11, 2010 when demonstrators too the streets in New York City fueled by extremist political and religious views. Today it did not seem like there was much difference between the two groups of extremists.