WPCNR NEWS & COMMENT. From the WPCNR archives. Written by John F. Bailey on September 11, 2001:
White Plains NY USA will hold a Memorial Ceremony in Liberty Park this morning at 8 AM, in tribute to the thousands who died in the Trade Center attack September 11, 2001, including 6 White Plains residents who are memorialized in Liberty Park on the marble monument pictured above.
In the worst premeditated surprise attack on any nation anywhere, with loss of life in the thousands, the World Trade Center Towers collapsed into smokinf horrible rubble Tuesday morning, September 11, 2001 by 10:30 AM and we all realized how connected we are– (or once were).
No novelist has imagined this disaster. It is all too real and horrible. Not since the Hindenburg disaster have I heard radio reporting so emotional. Not since Hiroshima and Nagasaki has there been such loss of life in a single attack. As the attack came every 15 minutes observed one radio reporter, America realized how connected we all are. At least this reporter did.
What impressed this reporter, was how connected we all really are here in America. A candidate for office worried about their treasurer’s wife who works in the Trade Center. I worried about my nephew, just starting his new job this summer in lower Manhattan, and I do not know exactly where he works. My brother-in-law called from Miami to see if my wife was all right. (She is.) My wife saw the towers collapse from her mid-town offices. I fifteen years later how she felt seeing the towers collapsed. She hesitated, saying “I don’t know. I was in the moment.”)
A friend of mine called to see if my wife was all right, too, fifteen years ago. Then he mentioned what about those children in school who have parents working in those buildings? It was a sobering, angering thought.
Sobering because, you knew some of them had to have lost their parents. You just knew that.
Our very uncommunicative society was communicating, phonelines were jammed. Everyone thought of loved ones or persons they knew who perhaps worked down there.
Persons watching the horror unfold, broke down in front of their televisions. Breaking down, because of the sense that there was nothing they could do. (I listened to the attacks unfold on the radio. I did not watch it on television.)
As I write this at 12 noon today (September 11, 2001), the end of these maniacal acts (a very appropriate description from one WOR reporter) is not in sight. But, when it does end, and it will, let’s remember how connected we feel to those entombed in the Trade Center rubble.
Let’s pull together and work together more, like those brave New York City Firefighters who obviously were trapped in the buildings when they collapsed. The police who obviously have died trying to evacuate the innocents within. I don’t want to hear any more knocks on the NYPD.
I remembered that connection and the Candlelight Walk that took place in White Plains two weeks later where easily 7,000 people filled Main Street from the railroad station to City Hall holding candles to just be together and feel together and connected.
How we have changed since September 11, 2016. We are a nation no longer remotely connected. We have a President blaming our troubles on other Americans, immigrants. We have people in congress delivering messages without substance, ignoring reason, and putting their hopes in failed ideas of the past in both parties. Talking big but having nothing big or helpful to say.
There is no connection between Americans today, or members of our government with whom they govern.
Respect for each others’ views no longer exists. The importance of putting the truth out and dealing with the reality of our challenges is not being faced by our leaders, our politicians, our educators, our health providers, our media. It is a shambles.The blame era began with the fall of the Towers.
No one now needs to take any responsibility, just blame someone else: It’s immigrants; it’s the far right; it is Wall Street; it’s the banks; the insurance companies; it’s companies exporting jobs to avoid taxes; it’s the oil companies; it’s the media; Have I missed anyone? None of these institutions take responsibility for when they make a big mistake.
It would be nice if we could go back to that brief time after 2001 when we pulled together as a nation. (2017 note:The hurricanes of the last two weeks seem to be rekindling that spirit, maybe.)
Think how our actions, words, feelings, and dependence on self-interest so prevalent today effects other people.
Can we recapture that September 11, 2001 compassion Americans showed to each other, the mutual respect, when you’d hug strangers to comfort them?
As the hero in Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises said to Brett, the heroine when she says
“Oh, Jake, we could have had such a damned good time together.”
“Yes,” I said. “Isn’t it pretty to think so?”
But our country and all of us it need to do that figure out how to have a damned good time together, and make things work.
At the 9/11 ceremonies today is a good time to begin.
It would nice to do so.