Posted by: Jim E | September 11, 2013

9/11…Pearl Harbor…And Me…

All of us who were alive and old enough, remember where we were on September 11, 2001…I had been retired for about one year…I retired in August of 2000…I guess I was just getting used to this retirement “thingy” and was watching the Today Show on TV…I had that habit the first year or so…got sick of it after a while…and haven’t watched it since…but that day, I was watching…it was a bright sunny day in Andover, Minnesota, as well as a bright sunny day in New York City, Washington D.C. and I think in the small town of Shanksville in Pennsylvania…nine eleven buildings

All of the sudden they broke into the program with a picture of one of the World Trade towers and told us that it had been hit by a plane…I didn’t know if it was a small private plane or a passenger plane, or for that matter, a military plane…but it didn’t take long to understand we were in trouble…this was something that was not just unusual…but more than that…there was a underlying feeling that this was an attack…but who would do such a thing…a foreign government?…that didn’t make much sense…but we didn’t have to wait long to know that we were under a terrorist attack…

nine eleven pentagonA second plane crashed into the second tower…and then closely followed by news that a plane had crashed into the Pentagon…then news a bit later about a plane crashing into a field near Shanksville in Pennsylvania…we knew nothing but the horror of this…how many people would be killed…there was talk of tens of thousands might be killed…it was a horrible first few hours…in fact the whole day was taken up with watching TV and listening to reports…there was no good news…all air planes were ordered from the skies over the United States…and those flying here from other countries needed to turn back…we saw computer pictures of the thousands of planes in the air at the time…

It would be hours before the skies were cleared…and there was no way of knowing for sure if all thenine eleven clearing the skies terrorists were out of the sky until all planes were accounted for…and by later in the day there was an all clear…many flights landed in places that they were not destined for when they took off…so many people were in cities for days without flights…some were in Canada…many in those towns helped those who were stranded…some rented cars and finished their trips…but the skies were empty that night…it was an eery time…I felt like we were at war and under attack like during WWII…shutting down a whole airline industry, unheard of…it was an amazing feeling…

nine eleven special opsThat night, we followed all the reporting on TV…now dark, and not knowing what was really going on…my mind was going all over the place…I thought of young men, in special services…groups we did not even know existed, were probably already in the air…flying places that we knew nothing about…the government and the military knew things that they were not sharing at the time…so I knew something was happening…and surely it was…later we would find out that special operations were already in or on their way to Afghanistan…but not knowing was the hard thing…

As I have said, I was retired…I had been the principal of a large suburban high school and in that position I had to know what was going on…all things for the most part were reported to me…and if any thing came up, I had to make the decisions about what to do…I don’t want to liken that to 9/11 but it was hard to sit and just wait to find out what was happening…instead of being in on all the decisions about happenings around us…

I remember that night, all planes out of the sky…and knowing that “something” was happeningnine eleven huey helicopters though we didn’t know what it was…it was about 9:30 or so…dark, quiet…the news ominous…and then, the sound of helicopters flying over our house…I went outside, it was an eery time…I could see the outline of the helicopters…and they had some of their lights on…there was 8 or 10 of them flying over our house…you know the sound…I’m no expert, but I believe they were Huey’s…it sent a comfort level to my thinking…I said to Judie, “I think they know something we don’t.”…this was not an unusual event except for that time of night…many times National Guard helicopters flew over our house on their way to Camp Ripley near Little Falls, Minnesota…they no doubt had their orders and things were about to change…in my mind I could imagine those in the helicopters, serious business ahead and they were going to be in the middle of it…

We spent lots of time in the next days and weeks, watching reports about the 9/11 attacks…and saw quickly who was responsible and who we were at war with…we still are…this war is so different…no armies to surrender…no country to deal with…only nameless people spurred on by a religious desire to return to the 7 century…that of course is not going to happen…but in the meantime it is a battle that must be fought…

Pearl HarborI titled this 9/11…WWII…And Me…so an explanation is in order…I was born two months after Pearl Harbor, the beginning of WWII for the United States…It always seems to me that I heard the announcement by FDR…but of course I didn’t…but I have heard it so many times it seems that way…but my childhood and into my adult years, WWII effected all that I was…my Dad was in the Navy during the war…my uncles all served…I worked with WWII vets even into my 30′s…and knew many of them into their 80′s…they had an effect on me that has never gone away…I made it through the 60′s without losing my patriotism…I still fly the flag everyday… Flag front of house

So I have lived under the shadow of two of the greatest events of our history…in my 71 almost 72 years, I have been effected directly by Pearl Harbor and 9/11…live with the aftermath of both…seen nine eleven flagthe best and the worst that this country has to offer…so I guess I will continue to fly the flag…we seem to be in a bad way right now…no unity, not much leadership in that area…but I have a belief that America will rise from where we are…it will take different leadership…but it can happen…I believe it will…my prayer is for God to bless this country…may it show the goodness that it has in it’s heart…that the morals, courage and honor of a past time might return to this great country…

 

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Responses

  1. Good reminders and a good call to prayer

    • Annette…thanks for the comment…Jim E

  2. Before 9/11, Pearl Harbor was the big ‘memory day’, as well as JFK’s assassination (I remember my Mom talking about the latter, I was too young to remember it).

    I too hope our country will rise again, Jim. Great post!

    • Thanks W.S….I have been enjoying your posts though I haven’t been leaving a comment…I know, I should…will take more time from now on…it’s nice to get the comment…and as you can imagine, you stir something up in my head every time I visit…like your deer family…we have a place along the Arkansas River that we like…there is an island out there and though it is a small island…there are deer there…the other night we saw a doe and two fawns…always amazing…and I saw a picture of Tickseed…and reminded me that ours are not fully out yet…it will be October through November…our leaves really peak in November in Arkansas…Tickseed feed all those late butterflies that come our way…so thanks for your comment and for your hard work you do on your blog…you are a “touchstone” for many…including me…Jim E


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