Sept 11, 2001 (9/11) – I will not forget, I will never forgive

Teardrop Monument

The Teardrop Monument – A 10-story high sculpture given to the US of A by Russia and the artist, Russian sculptor Zurab Tsereteli. It is located at Bayonne Harbor as a memorial to those that died in the 9/11 terrorist attack and the 1993 World Trade Centre bombing.

I was standing in line at the Yonge St. & Davisville Ave. Starbucks (in uptown Toronto) when American Airlines flight 11, lifting off from Boston’s Logan International Airport not 45 minutes earlier, crashed into the northeast face of World Trade Centre Building 1 in New York City. On board were 87 people and five terrorists (I differentiate the two groups because I don’t consider the five terrorists to be human). In an instant they were all gone.

Around the popular local coffee shop customers sipped their hot drinks and casually flipped the pages of local newspapers. Light jazz wafted through hidden speakers. The sky outside was blue, the air summery and warm — another beautiful September morning. In line behind me others waited impatiently with arms crossed, avoiding eye contact, focused on their mundane worries of the day, oblivious to the fact our entire world had just changed.

Coffees in hand I crossed the busy intersection and jumped into my green ’97 Ford Explorer. At the time I was running two construction jobs — a basement lowering project at one site and a basement finishing project at another. The coffees were for my basement finishing crew. I was a general contractor back in those days.

Once in traffic I cranked the volume on the radio. The ever-irascible Howard Stern was excitedly going on about reports of a small plane hitting the World Trade Centre. At first I figured it must be one of his potty-mouthed skits. I along with the rest of the world was still 15 minutes away from appreciating the seriousness of the crisis — at 9:03 AM a second airliner, United Airlines flight 175, would slice through the south tower of the WTC like a knife through soft butter and erase any doubt that we were under attack.

By the end of the day thousands of innocent victims, including 24 Canadians, had died at the hands of al-Queda and Osama bin Laden. All flights in the U.S. were cancelled or rerouted. Many planes had been redirected to Gander International Airport in Gander, Newfoundland. By now the world was glued to CNN for the latest update.

While the actual footage of the attack was shocking beyond words, for me the most compelling video was of CNN’s Elizabeth Cohen interviewing traumatized people in the chaotic streets of lower Manhattan two days later. Their faces lined with worry, strained, tired, they held handmade missing persons fliers up to the camera, desperately searching for their loved ones, tearfully pleading for help and information. Ms. Cohen cried right along with them, and I cried right along with her. Even now, thinking about it brings a tear to my eye.

In the weeks that followed I found myself obsessed with everything to do with the events of 9/11. I could hardly pull myself away from the TV. I scoured all the newspaper reports and editorials trying to come to some kind of understanding. How could this have happened? What sort of misguided monster would orchestrate this sort of madness? Why?!

Nothing had shaken my world so deeply. Nothing would be the same, so it seemed.

Here we are, eight years later. While the tragic events of 9/11 are but a distant memory, the clarity of that memory will never fade, I refuse to let it. My heart still aches for the families and friends who lost loved ones on that fateful day in September. My anger against those who would commit such atrocities in the name of God is as sharp as a dagger’s edge. And my utter contempt and disgust for those who would support the release of terrorists still incarcerated is palatable.

I do not hate those responsible, or those who support those responsible. Why bother, hate takes work and is hard on the soul, they are just not worth it. I do, however, take supreme pleasure in knowing in my heart that those who strive to commit such atrocities, such crimes against humanity and freedom, will be afforded an eternity in Hell to consider their sins. No 70 virgins for you. No peace. No God. No heaven.

Just hellfire! For all eternity!

Don’t worry, I hear it’s a dry heat.

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4 Responses to Sept 11, 2001 (9/11) – I will not forget, I will never forgive

  1. diane says:

    Beautiful picture, and a good reminder. I, too, have clear memories of that day, though I usually avoid the whole subject. In the years since that event, lots of political infighting has come to overpower the memory of the thousands of innocents who died for no reason, and has completely obliterated the feeling of solidarity-through-tragedy that emerged at that time. Now it seems there is only bitterness left. Very few people truly hate the distant terrorists, whoever they are, but many have come to hate their neighbors.

  2. davecandoit says:

    Wow, well said. Here in Canada we have struggled with many of the same issues around terrorism. The U.S. is holding a Canadian terrorist, Omar Khadr, at Guantanamo and there are many who want him released and brought “home” to Canada without having to face his charges. He killed a U.S. medic (Sgt 1st class, Chris Speer) in a fire fight in Afghanistan and was caught on video planting roadside bombs with his terrorist buddies. You can pretty much guess how I feel about him getting off without facing justice. If it were up to me, we’d round up those who want him free and send them all down there.

    Of course, your mileage may vary.

  3. ellsea says:

    I think 9/11 is a defining moment for my generation, in the same way Kennedy’s assassination was for my parents – it’s a moment in time when my/our view of the world fundamentally shifted. I don’t think I will ever forget that day, and even though I was fortunate in that I didn’t lose anyway, I won’t ever forget how my emotions shifted from ‘this is a sick joke’ to absolute horror. I guess where I differ from you is in that whilst I will never forget, I can’t help but feel that forgiveness is the only way forward for a Christian, and that all the subsequent horror and bloodshed has only deepened the divisions between two cultures in conflict. I do not see any easy alternatives to answer the question of how we protect ourselves for such tyrannies in the future, and forgiveness and understanding does not come easily when my gut instinct is revulsion and rejection. I will just try to keep hoping that peace will come, in the end.

  4. davecandoit says:

    Yeah, maybe I do have the capacity to forgive, but for me it will take justice. If one of these terrorists serves his jail time and repents for his sins, then who am I not to forgive him, right? It’s the ones who are trying to circumvent justice that I have a problem with, along with those trying to help in that regard.

    As you suggest in your comment, forgiveness has to begin somewhere. It is the better person who realizes that and offers forgiveness first.

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