Saturday, September 11, 2004

Three years ago on this day......2001

For anyone who happens to live in a cave and doesn't know, today is the third anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. In the same way that everyone remembers what they were doing on the day that Pearl Harbor was attacked or President Kennedy was shot, I still remember what I was doing on that fateful day.

On the 11th of September, my wife and I had just returned to Europe from spending the summer in the United States with my work. I was being sent to Germany and was supposed to be on site the 15th of September. We had left Salt Lake City on the morning of the 10th of September and flew to New York. My wife had previously talked about maybe spending a day in New York (11 September) to see the sights, especially the World Trade Center, but I was anxious to get to my new assignment, so we didn't stop in New York but flew from there to Rome where we arrived the morning of 11 September, Italian time. After one more quick flight on Alitalia, we arrived back home for the first time in 5 months.

After we got back home, we were trying to get settled back in when my daughter turned on the TV. At that moment, she called to us to come and see what was happening. Italian TV was showing the footage of the first plane hitting one of the towers of the World Trade Center. I thought to myself, "Wow, what a terrible accident." As we watched, the second plane hit the other tower. At that point I said, "This is no accident." As we continued to watch, we heard reports about a plane hitting the Pentagon and a fourth plane crashing in Pennsylvania which just confirmed my suspicions.

My feelings about the attacks were kind of strange. It was if I was a disinterested observer from another country. I was shocked that this had happened but it felt to me that it had happened in another country, kind of like the Madrid train bombing or the recent attacks in Russia. I wanted the US to pursue the perpetrators and bring them to justice, but I didn't feel that the attacks were an attack against me. I don't know if this was due to the fact that had been overseas for so many years or that the US had suffered terrorist attacks before during the Clinton administration and nothing had been done to bring the perpetrators to justice. I thought that like before, we would not be able to do a whole lot even if we wanted since the people responsible were out of reach due to numerous factors.

Luckily for me and the US, our president was George Bush. At this time, there was still the controversy surrounding the 2000 elections and the Florida recount. The various media outletrs were still whipping this dead horse and, depending on the pundit, saying that George Bush stole the election. Over the next few days, as I heard the President's words, I came to the realization that it was no longer going to be "business as usual" in the Bush White House. I came to realize that no matter what, the responsible parties would pay for what they had done to the United States, dead or alive. At that point, I was very, very, very thankful that our president was George Bush and not Al Gore. I could not even imagine Al Gore having the "balls" to even think about bringing the perpetrators to justice.

Fast forward to today. We are locked in another election cycle. On one hand, we have the Democratic nominee, Senator John Kerry, stating that he would fight a more effective war on terror than President Bush. On the other hand, we have President George Bush who is actually fighting a war on terror. I find myself asking "Which of these two men would I want to lead me if the attacks of three years ago were repeated today?" Each time, the answer is the same, President George Bush. Remember, when countries who would like to see your country destroyed endorse a candidate for president, that means that you should immediate vote for the other candidate. John Kerry has picked up endorsements from North Korea, Iran and Cuba. Who do you think you should vote for come November?


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