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A Few of FR's Finest....Every Day...911 Week, Day ONE 09-09-02
Written by JohnHuang2 with Graphics and Layout by Billie | JohnHuang2

Posted on 09/09/2002 7:20:57 AM PDT by Billie


September 11th --
A Day America Must Never Forget

By JohnHuang2

It was early September 11, 2001 -- just another beautiful, sparkling summer morning in America. From Florida's comely, sandy beaches, across the Carolina Smoky Mountains, to sensual Mt. Rainer in Washington State, it was just another typical, uneventful workaday. The roads and highways bustling with rush-hour traffic, factories humming right along, tireless shopkeepers, vendors and farmers were busy as ever.
The imperturbable, mundane serenity augured not a clue of the nightmare to come.
The clock strikes 8:46 a.m. EST. Suddenly, seemingly from nowhere, a colossal, titanic explosion rips the heart of New York's financial center. A Boeing 767 passenger jet had just plunged into the World Trade Center's north tower. Instantly, a hellish fireball erupts, engulfing the skyscraper's upper-third, the towering flames scorching the morning sky. The explosion's unbridled power and fury were felt miles from the infernal epicenter.
Then, minutes later, yet another jet from hell rumbles over the trembling city, flying low as it eerily swoops towards the embattled WTC. At 9:03 a.m., the gruesome horror is repeated; this time the south tower is struck.
The world knew then this was no accident, no unlucky mishaps. This was terrorism -- the evil misdeed of savages.
But, more than that, these were acts of war. America was under attack.
As if to remove any doubt, reports of yet another kamikaze strike crosses the wires -- barely an hour after the south tower was struck. This time, the nation's military nerve center was the target. At 9:43 a.m., American Airlines Flight 77 crashes into the Pentagon in Washington.
Then, reports of United Airlines Flight 93, and still another hijacking. At 10:03 a.m. a Boeing 757, bound originally for San Francisco, slams into a field in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, killing all 40 on board.
All told, the most barbaric acts of domestic terrorism snuffed out the lives of more than 3,000 men, women and children. These innocents became the war's first casualties.
The unspeakable horror and agony that day had broken the quietude and serenity we had long casually taken for granted.
America would never be the same again, her innocence ravished and raped that black September morning.
Suddenly, bursting before our eyes, what hitherto had seemed beyond unimaginable. The nation, whipsawed in terror and sorrow, stumbled and staggered.
Gone forever was our sense of sheltered invulnerability. The unfettered brutality and virulence (common-place in Bogota and Beirut, perhaps), could never befall on American soil -- or so we thought.
That indomitable aura of invincibility, like the World Trade Center itself, lay in ruins.
Amid the seared and parched remains, the smoldering corpses, the shrieks of agony and bellowing cries for help from under the sizzling rubble, as jolted rescuers, shrouded by plumes of blinding smoke, scurried heroically in search for survivors, the inevitable question "why?" ricochet across the lengths and breadths of our shaken land.
What kind of animals would deign to perpetrate such dastardly, despicable horror?
The answer would soon be forthcoming, as the trail of evidence pointed inexorably towards an all-too-familiar name, Osama bin Laden -- perennial enemy of the United States.
The shadowy, elusive Saudi national had long ago become a household name, having been the terror mastermind behind a deadly series of devastating attacks in the 90s, involving hundreds of casualties -- all under the unwatchful eye of the Clinton (mal) administration. The pathetic, halfhearted/half-baked 'military' 'retaliations' which followed would only embolden bin Laden and his al-Qaeda camarilla of war criminals.
While Clinton diehards deny it, September 11 has become an indelible blotch on the Clinton "legacy" -- a stain far more tarnishing than Lewinsky.
Today, exactly one year to the day after the harrowing carnage that awful morning, we commemorate the victims of 9/11 -- the more than 3,000 innocent men, women and children who perished that infamous day.
Three-thousand lives pulverized suddenly, senselessly.
Three-thousand hopes, 3,000 dreams, 3,000 candles of life extinguished, for no reason.
Among the victims, someone's father, someone's mother, someone's son or daughter, aunt or uncle or dear friend.
But all of them, fellow human beings.
A part of America died with them that terrible day.
September 11th was a cruel and vicious attack on all of us -- as Americans.
September 11th reminds us all of our shared humanity, and our common mortality.
The stupendous and miraculous out-pouring of love and support from people all across America during those darkest hours stands as living testament to the greatness of America itself. Our resilience as a people is what makes us uniquely American.
Our enemies may bomb us, hijack our planes, topple our buildings, but our shared sense of community, our effervescence and our love for each other can never say die.
This indomitable spirit moved the gallant heroes of hijacked Flight 93 to fight back, sparing the capital even greater carnage and destruction. Todd Beamer, who led the passenger revolt, epitomizes the courage and spirit and valor of America. This nation will never forget him.
The invincible spirit of the firefighters saved countless lives that day. The stories of heroism, of courage overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds would take more than a lifetime to recount. These brave men boldly defied death in the face that day, again and again.
Take the story of the men of Ladder Company 6. It's a story of how six New York firefighters were miraculously saved from the jaws of death -- all because of Josephine Harris, a woman they call their very own 'Guardian Angel'.

Stationed in downtown Manhattan, Ladder 6 heard the harrowing explosion when the first jet slammed the north tower. "A plane has gone into the World Trade Center!", boomed the intercom.
Ladder 6 rushed to the scene. Three minutes later, they saw "pieces of aircraft lying on the sidewalk and there were computer monitors smashing in the street", firefighter Billy Butler told the Guardian newspaper.
Butler, a seven-year veteran on the force, recalls how they "waited for the debris to stop falling and grabbed our stuff and made a beeline for the front door."
Captain John Jonas told Dateline NBC that, as they entered "One World Trade Center, the [north] tower, there were two badly burned people right there at the lobby door."
"We were in the lobby when the second plane hit", recounted Sal D' Agostino. "You could hear a rumble and an explosion. And from the windows in the World Financial Center across the street, the reflection of the explosion came off of that, came off of those windows", he said.
Climbing stairwell B, each carrying 110 lbs of gear on their backs, Ladder 6 reached the 27th floor when suddenly they heard a "rumble that nobody's ever heard before -- a 110-story building coming down", Captain Jonas told Dateline. The south tower had just crumbled to earth. They were ordered to evacuate -- immediately.
It was then when Ladder 6 came upon Josephine, a Grandmother who had already climbed down 46 floors from her office at the Port Authority.
Captain Jonas described his reaction to Dateline this way: "And Billy's my biggest, and strongest guy. I said, 'Billy, just put her arm around you, and just, we'll do the best we can'. And she was having a hard time. She was elderly, and she wasn't walking very well."
"We started down with her and it was a slow process because she was extremely fatigued, her legs were collapsing," Billy Butler tells the Guardian.
Butler: "We made it down to the fourth floor. We took two steps down the stairs and the whole building started to collapse. It threw us down to half landing. I have never been in a tornado or an earthquake but I think it was like a combination of both. You could see the stuff coming down past your face and the next minute it was going up past your face."
"My lower legs were covered with debris", Butler added, "and as I picked it off I heard something. It was this woman Josephine, she was laying at my feet. Then some of the other guys started getting up. The dust and the smoke did not clear for an hour and half."
Mr Butler: "We didn't give a Mayday initially because we thought we could walk out of there like gentlemen. Then we gave a Mayday and nobody answered, we couldn't get a signal. The chief finally ... got a message out. Captain Jonas told them that they were in the north tower's stairway B. The reply came back, 'where's the north tower?"
Richie Picciotto, the Batallion Chief, told Dateline that "there was no way out. We were encapsulated. So even though we were alive, there's 105 floors above us."
In fact, as Dateline reports, little did they know "those 105 floors were now in pieces all around them. The men of Ladder 6 had survived the collapse but were now marooned in one of the few fragments of the building still standing -- a darkened stairwell. And surrounding them, a craggy wasteland shrouded in smoke."
In his Mayday call, Captain Jonas kept "telling them, 'we're in World Trade Center One. You enter through the glass doors, you make a right, stairway B is the first stairway on the left. We're on -- between the second and the fourth floor. And my five year old daughter could follow those directions."
But Butler has a better idea. He borrows a cell phone from a Port Authority police officer hunkering with them and calls home.
Bill Butler: "My wife answered the phone. She said how are you doing. She was asking a lot of questions. I said, listen to me. And she started to whimper a little bit, and I said, ‘You can’t cry, do not cry right now.' She actually is writing this stuff down, so I just told her call the fire house and tell the guys where we’re at."
Then, suddenly, miraculously, "everything cleared just for a moment. And we could see we were at the top of this debris pile. And I'm thinking, this is going to be OK, you know? This, we're going to be OK here."
Richie Picciotto: "There’s light there. I thought it was an optical illusion. There’s light, we’re safe. There’s life. There’s light."
Dateline recounts how "Chief Picciotto followed the light to an opening they had not seen before, climbed out and secured a rope to show others the way. Still sounding his bullhorn siren, the chief was soon discovered by the men of Ladder Company 43. The firefighters could now climb out. But what about Josephine Harris?"
"I knew that we couldn’t get Josephine out by ourselves", Butler recalls. They stayed with Josephine till she was rescued.
Butler explains the remarkable irony to the Guardian this way: "This woman was soooo slow, but she was a guardian angel sent to us. It was because she slowed us up that we ended up in that void. If we had gotten out of that building we may have sought refuge in our fire truck which was flattened. I saw it the other day and it's just one twisted piece of metal."

Folks, the story of Ladder 6 is the story of America, a tribute to this great and wonderful country of ours.
'But that was a year ago', the cynic scoffs. 'Today, that spirit is dead'.
America is roaring back, thanks to the leadership of our President, George W. Bush. And thanks to the courage and bravery of the troops he leads, our enemies are either dead, captured or on the run.
"We'll succeed," thundered the Commander-in-Chief at a White House ceremony in March marking six months since the September 11th attacks.
"There will be a day when the organized threat against America, our friends and allies is broken," the President continued. "I see a peaceful world beyond the war on terror, and with courage and unity, we are building that world together."
Over the site of the World Trade Center, two beams of light tower defiantly into New York's night sky, a touching memorial to the victims of 9/11. But more than just columns of light, those beams piercing boldly the darkness are unflinching towers of courage, towers of strength, towers of firmness and undaunted resolve. To our enemies, these poignant symbols send a message, loud and clear: You will never defeat us, we will never surrender, through fire and water we will triumph over you, whatever it takes.

To the victims and heroes of September 11th; to the firefighters, policemen, emergency/rescue workers -- to all who were taken from us that day -- these radiant beams illuminating the heavens are our way of saying, 'We will never ever forget you.'
America must never forget. ~ JohnHuang2


09-07-02 through 09-08-02 ReCap of the Week's Threads

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events; Political Humor/Cartoons; Your Opinion/Questions
KEYWORDS: freepers; fun; military; patriotism; surprises; veterans
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To: Billie
It was a very emotional day. We stayed in Europe until the 8th of October. The one thing that throughly amazed me was the kindness of the people we met in Europe. Needless to say we were glad to get home to the USA.
21 posted on 09/09/2002 7:55:48 AM PDT by Militiaman7
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To: EternalVigilance


22 posted on 09/09/2002 7:56:17 AM PDT by Chairman_December_19th_Society
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To: Billie; JohnHuang2


Excellent thread Billie and Johnhuang2. Such sadness in my heart as 9/11 is approaching. Not a day goes by that I don't think of that day, I will never ever forget it. God Bless those who lost their lives on 9/11 and their family and friends. God Bless President Bush, I am Thankful that he is our Commander In Chief. God Bless our Military, My Thank You to each of them for serving our country and protecting America. Yesterday I was at a town fair, warmed my heart to see young children place their hand over their heart and recite the Plege of Allegiance, brought tears to my eyes, I was so proud of all of them. Well, have a good day all.

23 posted on 09/09/2002 7:58:57 AM PDT by deadhead
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To: Billie
I hope you don't mind, I just wanted to see this by itself, it is so meaningful.

It expresses so well what America is like in crisis.

24 posted on 09/09/2002 8:00:44 AM PDT by Syncro
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To: Billie; All
I was at home in VA Beach that morning, as I was having a conference with my son's teacher (nothing bad, just a progress report). My husband's mom called from her work in Jeffersonville, IN to tell me that a plane just hit the Towers. I couldn't believe it-I had visited DC and NYC in April of '95, my senior year of high school, and the Towers was one of our visits. We turned the TV on and watched in shock as the second plane hit.

Not sure what was worse: watching this horror unfold, or listening to Peter Jennings try to explain what he just saw and being rendered speechless.

Then my attention turned to my husband: he was at work at nearby NAS Norfolk, he's a submarine sonar technician. I was worried that they would be sending all the boats out to sea to make the base less of a target. Then I heard that all the bases in our area were at Threatcon Delta, which made matters worse. Delta is the highest form of alert, meaning war is imminent and the bases are locked down-no one gets on, no one gets off.

But wait there's more! < /sarcasm>

My mom had left just three days prior for a 14 day tour of London, Paris and Rome. She was able to call the day after and let us know she was ok. She was just outside of Stonehenge when the tour bus director heard the news and told them. They didn't believe him until they got back to the hotel and saw the news coverage. She was able to come home on time, thank goodness.

As for my husband, he was able to come home later that evening. I had to drive him to work the next morning since he had duty and what usually is a 30-45min drive took us almost 2 hrs, and that's with me dropping him off at the Exchange across the street!

Less than a month after 9/11, he left on a SCHEDULED 6 month deployment. Had a few minor crises (I had to replace the battery AND windshield wipers on ocar, moved from our apartment to base housing with the help of the Navy, you know the usual...) but we pulled through and now he's home for a while...I hope.

25 posted on 09/09/2002 8:04:10 AM PDT by Severa
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To: Billie; All
On 9-9, my ex came and gathered up every TV in the house and took them to her new abode.
On 9-10, I purchased a home entertainment center.
On 9-11, I was in the process of getting it to the house when the tragedy happened.
I didn't have a TV to watch as it unfolded, but that might have been a good thing; I was spared from a lot of the horror everyone else experienced.

Here's the link to the video I have prepared to commemorate that dreadful day:

I want to apologize in advance for not including the other two tragedies that befell us on 9-11, but the video just got too big to load, and I had to delete them. Be assured, I didn't forget them!



26 posted on 09/09/2002 8:04:13 AM PDT by COB1
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Drawing by GI waiting to deploy

I'll take it from here.

27 posted on 09/09/2002 8:04:19 AM PDT by lodwick
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To: Billie
Wow. this is my first time to this Thread, it's AWESOME.
thanks Billie!

Let's ROLL!

Time Out: 10:04

28 posted on 09/09/2002 8:04:48 AM PDT by Johnny Gage
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To: Billie
To the victims and heroes of September 11th; to the firefighters, policemen, emergency/rescue workers -- to all who were taken from us that day -- these radiant beams illuminating the heavens are our way of saying, 'We will never ever forget you.'

Let me just add that there are plenty of reasons to be proud to be an American. And these heroes -all of them are heroes for what they did on that day- are one of the greatest reasons. Ossama thought he could defeat us. He was wrong just as anybody else who tries will find out.

29 posted on 09/09/2002 8:06:22 AM PDT by adam stevens
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To: Joe Brower
Good morning, Joe. That is a graphic I had not seen before. Those I've posted were ones I did in the first few months following 911, and haven't used them very much since then.

We'll be here with this thread all week - posting it fresh every day, so we can keep it updated.

30 posted on 09/09/2002 8:09:53 AM PDT by Billie
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31 posted on 09/09/2002 8:12:31 AM PDT by lodwick
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9-11 Portal
32 posted on 09/09/2002 8:18:37 AM PDT by lodwick
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To: Billie
Billie, B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L JOB -- the graphics are truly moving, my friend! =^) Awesome. You are gifted beyond words.

And thanks for your compliments on my essay. God bless!

33 posted on 09/09/2002 8:18:37 AM PDT by JohnHuang2
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To: Billie; JohnHuang2
Thank you for such a moving message in remembrance of the attacks on 9/11 last year. The DC Chapter went to the Pentagon on Saturday to freshen up the memorial there with some new flags and patriotic flowers. Clink on the link:

34 posted on 09/09/2002 8:19:00 AM PDT by Angelwood
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To: Aeronaut
Morning, my friend.
35 posted on 09/09/2002 8:19:24 AM PDT by JohnHuang2
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To: Diver Dave
Thank you so much, amigo.
36 posted on 09/09/2002 8:19:49 AM PDT by JohnHuang2
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To: Billie
Address to a Joint Session of Congress and the American People
September 20,2001

In the normal course of events, Presidents come to this chamber to report on the state of the Union. Tonight, no such report is needed. It has already been delivered by the American people.

We have seen it in the courage of passengers, who rushed terrorists to save others on the ground -- passengers like an exceptional man named Todd Beamer. And would you please help me to welcome his wife, Lisa Beamer, here tonight.

We have seen the state of our Union in the endurance of rescuers, working past exhaustion. We have seen the unfurling of flags, the lighting of candles, the giving of blood, the saying of prayers -- in English, Hebrew, and Arabic. We have seen the decency of a loving and giving people who have made the grief of strangers their own.

My fellow citizens, for the last nine days, the entire world has seen for itself the state of our Union -- and it is strong.

37 posted on 09/09/2002 8:20:02 AM PDT by kayak
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To: kayak
Thanks, my friend. =^)
38 posted on 09/09/2002 8:20:09 AM PDT by JohnHuang2
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To: JohnHuang2
And in the other town that was attacked...

39 posted on 09/09/2002 8:20:46 AM PDT by Chairman_December_19th_Society
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To: Syncro
Thank you, friend.
40 posted on 09/09/2002 8:21:21 AM PDT by JohnHuang2
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