Posted by: Jim E | September 11, 2010

9/11…Ia Drang…FBI…You And I…

Today is 9/11…I think that will be understood by most Americans for years to come…will it be remembered like “Pearl Harbor”???…I really don’t know…but for now, it is understood…and even though America is a very different place than it was on December 7, 1941…I think for most Americans 9/11 is a very emotional day…

When I say America is a different place than 1941, I don’t necessarily mean in a good way…the media does not cover the attack in a patriotic way, as it was with Pearl Harbor…in fact sometimes I wonder if they really remember it at all…it seems that they are forced to cover it but with less and less intellectual honesty about what really happened…enough of that or I will not be able to cover what I want to in this post…because what I said above can get me a little agitated…so I will go on…

I just read something from a book on grieving: “The best way to know God is to love many things.”…and it did not mean “things” in a material way…but things all around us…a sunset, a sun rise, beauty of all that God has made…our family and life itself…I don’t know if that would pass though my theology matrix, but on the whole I would agree…we can sit and grieve or we can go on and love all that God is and He has created…all that He has lead us to and through…this will certainly help us in that process…people I have read about going through 9/11 losses…only those who have decided to move on with life are being successful in this process…

I can remember like it was yesterday…I had been retired for about one year…I was glued to the TV that day, waiting for news of survivors and if there were going to be any more attacks…many rumors were floating around…if you remember, all aircraft were cleared from the skies over America…thousands of planes and many thousands of people were grounded as soon as they could find a place for the planes to land…that was no small feat…amazing would be more like it…and I remember as darkness fell that September night in Andover, Minnesota…it was an eerie feeling, not knowing what was next…and it was heightened when 6 helicopters flew over our house, lights flashing…that was not necessarily new to us…because we were on a flight pattern for National Guard helicopters to fly over our house going to Camp Ripley near Little Falls, Minnesota…but to be flying over at night…and THAT night, when all aircraft was grounded, was impressive and a little frightening…I told Judie, “I wonder what they know, that we don’t.”…”Are we at war?” and “Things are happening.”…all those things were on my mind…it was an altogether eerie night…

Stories about 9/11 kept coming out over the days and months following the attacks…about Rick Rescorla, he died along with so many others in the collapse of the towers…he was the security chief for Morgan Stanley…Rescorla was also one of the survivors and heroes of the battle of Ia Drang in Viet Nam…and was noted in the book “We Were Soldiers Once…And Young”…this was the first battle in the Viet Nam War where the Americans faced the North Viet Nam army…”The bravest man I ever knew.”…was the comment made by a close friend in that battle…Rescorla, believed in the “Seven P’s”…”Proper prior planning and preparation prevents poor performance”…he had the people at Morgan Stanley practice what to do in an attack…of the 2,700 in over 20 floors, only 6 didn’t escape…including Rescorla…he was on the main floor but went back up to see if everyone was clear when the building came down…but everyone else made it out alive…

And John O’Neill and FBI expert on Al Qaeda…who warned and warned us of the threat…but the FBI stopped listening…he left the FBI the summer of 2001 and took a new job as head of security at the World Trade Center…he connected the dots…he knew what was going to happen…a “Frontline” program called “The Man Who Knew” tells all about his views of what was coming…he studied the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center and knew another was coming…but he also died in the collapse of the towers…

Why all this today???…this certainly does not plumb the depths of my feelings about this…9/11…Ia Drang…FBI…You and I…in all of life there are incidents which trigger deep feelings…I am old enough to know about people who fought in WWII…I was born in 1942, so from that time to this…history stacks up in my mind…it colors all that goes on from day to day…I love that…meaning comes from that experience…I often wonder how my Dad would have viewed 9/11…he died in 1999…but I know how he would have compared it to Pearl Harbor…he had experience that I don’t…age has its advantages…and I try to use it everyday…

America…I love this country…and all it stands for…sometimes I wonder where we are going…that has always been true…but a day like today…9/11…gives me hope that every American will remember…and will truly see what a wonderful country this is…exceptional in every way…and many have served and even given their lives that this “Great Experiment” will continue…and that Freedom and Liberty will reign over this land forever…



  1. Jim,
    Beautifully written, thank you. What a horribly tragic day 9/11 was and still is. I still cry every time I see that footage of what happened that day. Not only in NYC but in PA and the Pentagon. Just horrible. My father died July 4th of 2001. I’m so glad he wasn’t alive to see this. He fought in the Korean war and this would have just given him nightmares all over again.
    Thank you for sharing your stories here of this day and others. You are very good with the written word.


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