On September 11, 2001, I was at home in Queens and the Hobbitt was in Manhattan. My son was in Washington DC. Just after the first plane hit the World Trade Center, she called me and told me to turn on the TV. Luckily, we had cable, as the loss of the TV antenna on the WTC took out broadcast TV in the entire NYC area. The Hobbitt didn't make it home that night, but went to stay at my mother's apartment on West 66th St.
We had both worked in the Wall Street area, the Hobbitt for Merrill Lynch, and I was a consultant for several large banks. We often met for lunch at Skydive, a restaurant on the 42nd floor of the WTC. At one time, I worked on Pearl Street, right next door to the towers. The Hobbitt had worked at the World Financial Center, across the street from the towers.
On the Saturday following the attack we ventured into Manhattan. It was the first day that people were allowed below 14th Street. When we reached Wall Street, the police were handing out masks to protect people from the debris that filled the air from the buildings, some still on fire.
At the time of the attack, other nations of the world stood by us. It was a terrific opportunity to build a world-wide effort to end this sort of thing. It would have been easy if only we had someone in charge who could think in those terms.
Instead they used the attacks by a group of people to launch wars in two countries, wars that have devastated and destroyed the social fabric of these countries to the point where it may be impossible to rebuild. Some have accused the administration of the same sort of war crimes that were tried at Nuremberg. The terrorists didn't succeed in destroying our country -- they didn't have to. The administration has brought us into the worst financial crisis since the great depression. They have failed at every endeavor, crippling our national strength and making the US hated around the world.
And here we are seven years later. We still don't really know who attacked us, our government has blamed others, but never shown us or the world any sort of proof. Instead, they seized the opportunity and exploited it for their own political gain.
They never caught the people they said were behind the attack. After a while, they actually stopped trying.
After seven years, we're still engaged in two wars that have brought us no benefit, but instead have caused great hardship. And, for all the death and destruction sown in the name of the War on Terror, they still haven't caught one real terrorist and brought him to trial. Instead, we have "detained" tens of thousands, made torture acceptable, and sacrificed the values that once made our country great.
The next anniversary of September 11 will see a new administration in charge of this country. I pray that it will be one that can change our current, self-destructive course. There's not a lot of time left.