Make your own free website on Tripod.com
September 11, 2001




FIVE YEARS LATER

September 11, 2006: Five years after the attack that claimed thousands of lives and shattered the illusion of safety that America had strived to achieve for so long, the question seems to be "are we any safer now?" Most of the editorials seem to believe that we are not. The threat is still there around the next corner. We have been fighting the war on terror almost as long now - on the battlefront, in a middle eastern country that some believe we are right to be fighting and some believe its wrong - we fight terror on the information superhighway, over the telephone lines, through our many forms of media, and for some people - in their own homes. Measures the government and private industry has instituted in the last five years include: airport safety, immigration arguments, thorough background checks of some employees, the Patriot Act and much more. More importantly - what hasn't changed? What safety measures are lacking? Many entered churches (some for the first time) after 9/11 to pray for the country, for those who had perished, for comfort, and for themselves. How many of those are still worshipping regularly? How many have turned away from our Creator as the war in Afghanistan and Iraq continues? How many mothers have listened in fear to news reports of roadside bombings in an area where their sons and daughters are deployed? And the biggest question - how do we fight an ideaology that wants only death for free Americans? We can push education - educate others to be tolerant and compassionate. America, however, can't dictate what other countries are teaching their young people. What does it tell the world, when Americans can't even begin to be compassionate to one another? Each day there are still horrendous acts taking place - right in our cities, in our suburbs, in the rural communities, in our companies and industries, and right in our backyards. Not only do strangers murder each other but parents and children talk to each other with venomous hate. What do we show the rest of the world when we can't even get along?

Are we safer today than 5 years ago? Not really. We all like to think we are. We like to cling to that illusion that was shattered so instantly on 9/11 that we are a little safer. Can we live our lives in fear and terror? No - because as soon as we start - they have won the battle. We have to live - go to work, to play, to worship, to school, to enjoy our families, create friendships and be friends - or we aren't really living. If we throw up our hands and say "why bother", we have handed those terrorists our lives.


THEN

This page is dedicated to all those men and women, ordinary citizens, police heroes and fire fighter heroes, airline pilots and flight attendants, business travelers and military personnel who lost their lives on September 11, 2001 in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington D.C. And for the families of the thousands of victims - not only has this been your tragedy - but a world's tragedy - a nation's tragedy - and for each of us, our own personal tragedy.

I grew up in the home of parents who had both lived through the Great Depression and World War II. They had lived in Japan after the war and saw the aftermath of the bombs. My grandparents had lived through World War I and had visited many cities in Europe and saw the aftermath of the wars there. My great-grandfather, James House, fought for the Union in the Civil War. My grandfather, Glen Johnson, served in WWI and was in the service during WWII and the Korean War. My father served in WWII. Several cousins and family members went to Viet Nam. Another cousin was active during the Gulf War. I grew up listening to stories about the tone of the world before December 7, 1941. I heard and have seen news stories showing the bombing of Pearl Harbor. My family relayed their own personal opinions and how that day affected them. Until September 11th, I never completely understood their words. And unfortunately - at 8:45 a.m. that morning - I realized exactly what their words meant. I realized how their world had changed - just as mine changed that morning. I realized from that moment on - nothing I had ever known would hold the same meaning for me. I realized that I had not been desensitized by the media. I cried and my heart wept for those who died, those who fought the hijackers, those who were left without spouses, those children who lost parents, and the world.

Less than two weeks previous to September 11th, I lost my brother to cancer. I was already feeling sorrow and sadness. As events unfolded on every television channel the morning of the tragedy, I was too numb to put down in words exactly what I was seeing, hearing and feeling. I emailed my husband with each new piece of information. A few days later, when my mind began to sort everything out, I wrote my feelings in a journal I keep.

Emails that I wrote to my husband:

Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001
Subject: Bomb at Pentagon
Honey,
Now I just heard & am seeing on NBC that a bomb has exploded at a heliport by pentagon. Lots of smoke - said a significant blast. Looks terrible. Pentagon shook & windows rattled. Reporter said could smell acidic smell (like when a flourescent light goes bad) - now they are saying highly sophisticated attack.
Later,
Love, Wendy

Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001
Now they are saying - might be another plane - that crashed into heliport at pentagon. Getting too scary. White house has been evacuated - Bush is in Florida but he will be leaving soon to get back to DC - reporters are getting jumpy when they hear aircraft. Hope Cheney is underground - just in case Bush's plane is targeted upon his return trip.

Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001
Supposedly the people they've heard that are claiming responsibility is people for Palestinian Liberation.
One of the airplanes that hit World Trade Center was an American Airlines jet hijacked going from Boston to LA (I'm glad you're not traveling right now!)

Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001
FAA has shut down ALL air traffic Nation Wide

Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001
Subject: Another one
Reporter just said & just showed on NBC - another explosion at WTC - don't know if this is residual or not. Another explosion on both sides (left & right) buildings of WTC. Felt 2 blocks from there. Manhattan is covered in smoke right now. Pictures are horrible. People are running - reminds me of Independence Day when everyone starts running away.. Now showing from harbor view. Confirmed that a plane was what went down at the Pentagon. Can't even see one of the WTC buildings - only smoke & flames. Evacuating all critical buildings (probably in DC as well as NY).

Emails I sent others:

To my sister -
Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001
Watching the news this morning - very disturbing. Pretty scary as well.

To my sister -
Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001
I know this will sound horrible - I'm glad none of this happened last week or we would have had to figure out another way there.[referencing our brother's funeral]
Very hard to comprehend. People are filling reunion arena to donate blood.[referencing the big arena in the area]
My mother-in-law called while I was at work to make sure Charlie wasn't traveling. I called her back & told her we were all here & okay & no one was in the air.
Later,
Wendy

To my sister -
Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001
Emailed one of the Johnson cousins - Virginia - she's an atty in DC. She's okay & emailed me about leaving one courthouse & going to another one when they closed it & listening to the military jets overhead.
Charlie has flown on Flt 11 from Boston Logan before - I thought it was one of those that he's been on before. Told him I was glad today that he's not with Nokia or traveling at this point.

To one of my genealogy cousins -
Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001
Thanks for replying, Virginia. I've found out everyone I'm related to or know who are in / around NY or DC or flying are okay. My niece is a flight attendant with Frontier & she was on the ground in Portland when all you know what broke out.
Wendy

To my sister -
Date: Thu, 13 Sep 2001
Well - I had to get out of the house for awhile today. This morning during a lull in getting stuff done around here - everything just hit me from the past couple weeks, . . . what is going on in this country. Went to the library & looked at all their genealogy stuff. Just needed to do something else with my mind.

To my sister -
Date: Fri, 14 Sep 2001
Only worked until noon today. My heart just isn't in it. The church was also opened for anyone to come in during the noon hour for prayer. I went into the sanctuary after I turned my computer off & there were already several people there including a couple who just happened to wander in - glad they felt they could.

From my Journal:

14 Sept 01
Three days ago the world fell apart. 9-11. After dropping [my son & daughter] at school & getting gas, [my youngest daughter] & I were at Main St. crossing the bridge over I-35E when the breaking story hit KLUV that a plane had crashed into one of the World Trace Center towers in NY. First they thought it was a small plane & not even a jet. I immediately told [my youngest daughter] that terrorists had struck the center again. That they'd tried to bomb it in 93 and now this. She wanted to know what that would do and why there. Tried to explain world economics, etc. No way could I believe it was an accident. Once back at home I called [my husband] to give him news & then turned on NBC news. The pictures were bad. Smoke pouring out of the #1 tower not quite at the top. Then horribly as I & the nation watched 20 minutes after the first crash came a 2nd one into the 2nd tower. How many had died just in those 2 crashes? As I typed on the email my thoughts could not begin to comprehend the destruction. 20 minutes from that 2nd attack came a 3rd - directed this time in DC at the Pentago. Bush had already spoken to the nation from his stop in Sarasota, Florida. My concern was to get the Pres. someplace safe as well as VP Cheney. If terrorists could strike the Pentagon, they could hit other DC places. Air travel was stopped. All planes grounded. Then word came that a missing flight had crashed in PA. In an empty field. People on board that plane had decided to stop the terrorism at the cost of their own lives but not taking the lives of other innocent people. I hadn't been at work too long when not only the 2nd building that was hit collapse to the ground but so did the 1st one. How many rescuers were already in there? How many lives lost? The reporters kept calling it surreal because that was the only description. It looked like something out of a spy movie. Except it was all real. No Spielberg behind the camera. No Bruce Willis or Rambo who was going to take out the men responsible. No good guy to win over the bad. The 1st name on everyone's lips was Osama bin Laden - the mastermind. Not Carlos the Jackal this time unless he was doing this from wherever they have put him. No Harvey Keitel in a movie costume. Just pure evil. I wasn't alive when Pearl Harbor was attacked. I've heard about it all my life from parents who were alive then. But I don't think this could compare. Then we knew who had hurt us. We had a geographic location to strike back at. This is not a country who has struck. It is a faction. I wasn't sure if Hollywood had desensitized me against such brutality, destruction & evil but it hadn't. Yesterday it felt as if my life had crumbled. I lost Jim over a week ago on Aug. 31st. My family was emotionally torn by other stuff this week. I just cried & cried & cried. Keeping busy at home wasn't helping. I left the house for the quiet of the library. No TVs there & no radios. For over an hour I poured over immigration lists and settler books. Those ancestors of mine, long dead - who faced war in the form of the Revolution - the war that created the Patriotism we are witnessing today. The Civil War - which tried to bring a nation torn apart by different political views together. The the wars of the 20th century. WWI which Granddad was a part of. WWII - which my father was a part of. Korea - Viet Nam - the Persian Gulf War. What type of war will this now be? Can we stop the terrorism for future generations? Can we ever return to the carefree life we had before Tuesday morning? Can we ever see a plane overhead & not wonder or think about the 4 planes that were hijacked? Can we ever see a new picture of the Manhattan skyline & remember the twin towers that graced the picture & remember those who lost lives & loved ones in that terrorist massacre?

16 Sept 01
Sunday morning. I'm sure the church will be full today. There was a prayer service Friday at noon. Pres. Bush declared that a National Day of Prayer and Mourning. I stopped work at noon & went into the sanctuary. There were already several folks there. I prayed and cried. Then I went home. We watched "Independence Day" - at least in that movie we know what & who we are fighting. Couldn't get to sleep last night. Tossed & turned. Last night took me a long time to get to sleep.

30 Oct 01
This weekend will be 4 weeks since the US started bombing Afghanistan. That really doesn't bother me. I'm just hopeful that all the "new" security measures we are implementing don't go too overboard & encroach on the freedoms we do have. Isn't that the reason we are trying to defeat the terrorists? So we can keep our freedom? Feel like October has just whooshed by. People are still rasing money to send to the victims of the 9-11 terrorists attacks. Only problem is that it becomes such a normal part of every day life that people may start to forget the terrible thing that brought us to where we are. At least I'm back to sleeping at night.

11 Nov 01
Veterans Day. Time to think about all those military persons who have gone before us making sure our nation is safe. My g-grandfather, James House, who I never knew, fought for the Union in the Civil War. Granddad - active roles in WWI, WWII & Korea. Dad who served during WWII - his brothers doing the same. My cousin in Vietnam as well as [other cousins].

Wendy's Wonders - My Main Page!