By Tom Knighton
I don’t like talking politics on 9/11. It feels wrong. It feels dirty. It was 12 years ago today that I witnessed the most horrible act I could have imagined, and I pray I never see its like again. Politics has no place on a day like today.
Tomorrow, there will be plenty of time to discuss the possibility of bombing Syria. Tomorrow, there will be plenty of time to talk about ObamaCare. Tomorrow, there will be plenty of time to talk about the economy and whether or not it’s improving.
Today, we should focus on remembering.
Just 12 years ago today, I watched the footage as the second plane crashed into the second tower. I watched in horror as the first tower collapsed. I was on the phone with my mother, telling her what was going on when the second tower collapsed. I remember simply saying, “It’s gone.” I didn’t know what else there was to say. Still later, we heard about Flight 92 going down in rural Pennsylvania.
Thousands died that day. I watched thousands died that day. Millions of us did.
September 11 has been called “Patriots Day” in honor of those who died. However, we have no traditions started for this day. I have mixed feelings about that. On one hand, I want us to do things to remember those who died that day 12 years ago. On the other hand, I fear today becoming another day for cookouts and sales, rather than what it was supposed to be about. You know, like so many other holidays have become.
We mourn deaths on a day like today. For so many of us, we mourn deaths that we witnessed. It was a moment in our nation’s history that our children and grandchildren will study in the abstract, but we saw it. It’s not like Pearl Harbor. There, Americans heard the news reports on the radio and saw footage before the movie they were looking forward too. We witnessed this live and in living color.
Many of us remember the terror of that day. We remember asking, “What’s next”. We remember the fear of something more coming, and not having a clue what it could be. Were we paranoid? Maybe, but we were all scared and we had no clue what it could be.
I look over at my 12 year old son and remember that he was just two months old on that day. His mother had taken him to have his two month check up. She missed the horror. I didn’t. I was off from work that week. I saw it all.
For that day, and many days after it, politics took a back seat. It seems appropriate that we don’t talk politics today. There will be plenty of time for that tomorrow.
Today, we mourn once again and pray that no American witnesses such horrors again.