Don't ever forget this day and the people taken from us.
Now, I didn't have my TV on, no radio, and wasn't surfing the Internet all morning, so I closed my door, turned on the TV, and saw a split screen of the Towers burning, and the first pictures from the Pentagon fire. I picked up my phone to call him back, but got absolute silence. There was no dial tone, no static, nothing. At that point I knew I had to find some way of letting my brother and my sister know that I was safe. I tried about 8 or 9 times, and finally got a dial tone, and immediately called my brother. Both he and his wife were at work, so I left a message on their answering machine, and hung up to call my sister. It took another 8 or 10 tries before I could get another dial tone, and I got hold of my brother-in-law, and told him I was okay and to tell my sister.
After I hung up, I got a call from my dentist saying that he was cancelling all his appointments, because everyone there was watching the news, and that one of his staff was concerned because her husband was at the Pentagon. I also called a friend who was working with me at the same place and told her that I wasn't going to try to come in. Since they were closing all inbound roads into DC, and I live near two of those roads, I told her I might not be in the next day or so, depending on what the officials decided to do. I felt that the DC area was going to be going on a war footing, and the last thing I wanted to do was to be driving around, possible interfering with any emergency vehicle traffic.
My usual way of getting to Maryland was to drive up Washington Boulevard, which runs right by the Pentagon, to connect to the George Washington Parkway up to Maryland. That morning, if I had left my apartment when I had originally planned, I would have been driving near the Pentagon on the side where the plane hit, at around that time. If I hadn't been procrastinating, I would have been caught up in either the crash, or the traffic jam afterward, or would have had no way to get home due to road closings that were happening all day. I'm grateful to my friend John (Speaker) for calling me and telling me, too.
I watched the TV all day, and I don't really remember anything about what was said, what inanities the coiffed talking heads blathered about. I remember the images, and the feeling of numbness as I tried to grasp what had happened. It wasn't until a few days later, when I was able to read about the passengers on American 77, that I was really hit with grief and anger. It was when I read about Charles Falkenberg, who was flying with his wife Leslie Wittingham and their daughters Zoe and Dana, that it became real to me. I can't feel the deaths of 3000, but I can feel the loss of a family. I remember thinking that at least the family wasn't separated, that they were able to be with their children and comfort them and love them until the end. The anger and hatred for the inhuman bastards that saw this family as nothing, that saw their love and ignored it, that saw their fear and relished it, the anger came rushing in along with the grief.
I have no words that can say how angry I am at them, at the mentality (I won't call it a "religion") that encourages and praises people to treat "nonbelievers" as nothing, as less than dirt, that spits on human decency and love and calls it worthless. That some people claim the terrorists "don't represent 'real' Islam" means nothing, because I've read some of the verses that tell how to treat nonbelievers. If there are those who want to reform Islam, to make it more responsible and respecting of people who choose not to believe, then more power to them. Until that reform happens, until the "moderate" Muslims start actively rooting out and destroying the "radicals," I will stay angry at them. If that makes me a "racist" or "Islamophobe" then so be it. I know who the enemy of civilization is, who the enemy of humanity is, and I don't back down from naming them.
One last thing, I spoke of the media blatherers before. One phrase I am sick to death of hearing is that we "lost" all these people in the "tragedy" of 11 September 2001. We didn't "lose" anyone, those people were taken from us in a deliberate act of murder. That's what we all need to remember, to keep the proper perspective. A "loss" is something that happens in an accident, in a tragedy. We must remember that those who were taken were murdered, deliberately and in the coldest of blood. That's why remembering this day is important.