BRYCE ON LIFE
– Today’s high school seniors were just four at the time.
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There have been a handful of epochal events over the years where someone might ask, “Where were you when this or that happened?” For example, Pearl Harbor, the JFK assassination, the Beatles on Ed Sullivan, Neal Armstrong setting foot on the moon, and the Challenger disaster. Of course, the most recent event to Americans was the 9-11 terrorist attack in 2001. As for me, I was in my office early on that Tuesday morning and my cleaning crew was in taking care of the office. In the reception area, I had a television turned on and tuned to the local news. As I was typing on my computer, one of the cleaning crew came into my office very excited and said, “Tim, come out here and look at this; they’ve attacked the Twin Towers in New York.” I rushed out and watched the north tower burning and listened to newscasters hustling to get on top of the story. Then, after a few minutes, a second plane crashed into the south tower. We couldn’t believe our eyes. This was compounded later by air attacks on the Pentagon in Washington, DC, and another plane crashing in western Pennsylvania.
President Bush was visiting an elementary school just south of us in Sarasota where a news crew captured the president’s reaction to news of the disaster. The visit was cut short and he left with a brief statement informing the people present what had occurred and, if memory serves me right, he asked for a moment of silent prayer. This disaster would ultimately define the president’s tenure of office.
Conspiracy theorists would later claim the disaster was an “inside job” caused by the administration. I have listened to these stories time and again, and cannot find any validity in them. Nonetheless, on that day, 9-11, 2,996 people perished including the 19 terrorists involved, the greatest single day loss in our history, easily outdistancing Pearl Harbor where 2,403 Americans were killed and 1,178 others wounded. In the New York disaster, the city lost 343 firefighters and paramedics, and 60 law enforcement personnel. Companies in the North Tower lost hundreds of employees each. It was truly a sad day.
It has now been 14 years since the attack, and the disaster is already fading from the memories of our young people. Consider this, today’s high school seniors were but four years old at the time and, as such, have no real recollection of the disaster. I may understand them not remembering Pearl Harbor, an event which occurred over 70 years ago, but they should be reminded of the significance of 9-11 and its effect on the 21st century.
Although America was mildly aware of Middle East terrorists before, this disaster brought it home to the nation and defined our foreign policy for years to come. Today, just about everyone is familiar with the names of al-Qaeda, Muslim Brotherhood, and ISIS. New words have entered our vocabulary, such as burka, Jihad (Holy war), Fatwas (binding religious edicts), Mosque (Islamic place of worship), suicide bombers, IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices), caliphate (Islamic government) and are familiar with the sects in the area, Sunnis, Shites, and Kurds. Most Americans now know where Iraq, Iran, Yemen, UAE, Afghanistan, and Pakistan are, and we’ve noticed Muslims immigrating to countries, including the United States, and insisting on Sharia Law. Prior to 9-11, this was all relatively unknown. Now it is a part of our daily lives.
The threat of a terrorist attack is still a viable concern. We should ever be vigilant for the next attack. As Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke Jr. observed, “And that’s why it’s just going to get worse. You’re going to see more attacks, where they target two different sites and expand across the nation in different states. I think we have to find a role for U.S. citizens in this as well but until we get a strategy, that’s not going to happen.”
9-11 is an important symbol, not just for remembering the victims of 2001, but a warning for our future. This is why the lessons of 9-11 should be repeated to school children. The very least schools could do is ask the students to stand and have a moment of silence for the victims. 9-11 may be in our past, but what is in store for us in the future?
For a synopsis of 9-11, see:
Keep the Faith!
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Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
For Tim’s columns, see: timbryce.com
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Copyright © 2015 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.