Dear Diary: Special Saturday Edition, 9/11 Twenty Years After…

Entrada para el Museo y monumento conmemorativo del 11-S de Nueva York  Museo en el Bajo Manhattan | 2021 | Viator
(This is the 9/11 Memorial in Manhattan. My wife and I visited the museum and the memorial a few years ago and I must say it is a very emotional visit which I recommend to all. Photo property of Viator)

I have decided to make this special diary edition on Saturday because today we commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Centre, the Pentagon and Shanksville, Pennsylvania. I am sure we have all thought back as to what we were doing on that morning back in 2001. We, and I include myself because I was living in the US at the time, remember the anger, the frustration and the surge in patriotism. I remember trying to find a flag for my car and they were sold out everywhere. Every car you saw was flying American flags from their windows. The idea of unity, the lament for the victims, the incredulity because no one thought this could have been possible, and even the conspiracy theories, all form part of this event that shaped the world we live in today.

The aftermath of 9/11 were two wars. One of them just ended thanks to the efforts of US President Joe Biden. Although he has been criticised by some, he said it quite clear that he was not going to continue with a never ending war (in Afghanistan) or a never ending withdrawal of the military. Ten years ago the main perpetrator of the attacks was adjudicated correctly by Special Forces of the US military as they invaded his hideout in Pakistan. Now twenty years after we wonder as to what is going to happen as Afghanistan is once again in the hands of the Taliban, as it was back in 2001 and they were the ones who harboured Bin Laden when the attacks occurred…

I hope that one day we will know the whole and complete truth as to what really happened on that day. I hope we will one day have an explanation as to how those four air-planes, commercial jets, were able to turn around and cause such horrific damage. I hope someday someone will explain how inexperienced terrorists turned “pilots”, who had barely practised with success on small Cessna single engine planes, were able to kill military trained commercial pilots, overpower the entire flight crew and then “fly” sophisticated and complicated jets and with incredible accuracy hit their targets. I wish someone will one day explain why, if the attackers were from Saudi Arabia, the then US President George Bush decided to attacked Iraq, a country that had nothing to do with the attacks. I would like to know how the press knew, minutes after the attack that Osama Bin Laden was responsible. I would expect that one day we will be told, truthfully, why the military was not guarding the skies of New York or above the Pentagon in Washington D.C.. I think we all wish we had reasonable answers to these and the many other questions that the survivors, the family of the victims and all of us are wondering…

Yet we all feel the effects of that day. We, especially in the US because in Europe we had known terrorism, discovered that we were vulnerable to terrorist attacks on our soil. We discovered that our security systems and protocols were weak and ineffective. We realised that the enemy was an ideology, difficult to combat as we do not really know who is the enemy. We also realised that we were discriminating against the wrong people. The enemy was not Islam, but those who pervert that religion and turn it into a battle cry. And finally I think we should realise that these terrorists are simply vulgar murderers, common criminals intent solely on perpetrating their perverted world of hatred and violence. And hopefully we should understand that our world is dangerous but that we can survive, we can create, we can grow and learn the right lessons, especially that good is not equal to bad and that good people are not equal to bad people and that there is, most certainly, evil in this world.

It has been twenty years, I hope that one day the survivors, their families as well as the families of those who were murdered on that day, find some peace.

Pictures of 9/11: New York City skyline - before & after - Boston.com
(Manhattan skyline as it would have been on the night of 10 SEP 2001. Photo taken from public domain)
Did You Know? A Quick Guide to the Board of Standards & Appeals - Capalino
(Manhattan skyline now. Photo taken from public domain)

23 comments

  1. Brad Osborne · September 11

    The event itself was a tragic loss of life. But our knee-jerk response to blame all Muslims was just as tragic. Islam preaches many of the same principles as all the other mainstream religions, and the followers can be as devout and caring as anyone else who may practice a different faith. But any religion can be radicalized. Or have we forgotten the years of pain and suffering in Jerusalem brought on by the “Holy” Christian Crusades? A wonderful remembrance well written, my friend! As-salamu alaykum!

  2. beth · September 11

    thank you for this, francisco. it changed us all forever, in an instant.

  3. azurea20 · September 11

    Pues yo justo el año anterior ( 2000) ,ese mismo día, estaba en Manhattan visitando las Torres Gemelas. Es lo primero que pensé al verlas caer. Terrible atentado.

    • Francisco Bravo Cabrera · September 11

      Yo estuve en las torres en agosto del mismo año, menos de un mes antes…jamas se me olvidará. Yo cuando salía del subway lo primero que hacía era mirar hacia las torres para orientarme y saber cual era el sur o el norte…

  4. Easymalc · September 11

    A date in the diary for everyone Francesc. Your comments on this post explain a lot, but I think your comment “The enemy was not Islam, but those who pervert that religion and turn it into a battle cry” is very true, and we need to recognise that not every person who follows Islam is a terrorist.

    • Francisco Bravo Cabrera · September 11

      So true Malc. In today’s world they’ve turned everything into hatred, anger, division and without even knowing what they’re hating! It’s about time we were all more tolerant, more accepting, more inclusive and better neighbours… All the best my friend!

  5. Viktoriya · September 12

    Very moving and so true on all posting questions. And you are so right on first emotional reaction….
    Wish we should not feel patriotic only at tragic events, missing Americans unity and integrity.

  6. Anna Waldherr · September 12

    9/11 remains a deep scar.

  7. ourcrossings · September 15

    Well written and moving post regarding an event that changed the world forever, Francisco. A whole generation has grown up since the morning of September 11, 2001. A towering new skyscraper has risen over Manhattan, replacing the Twin Towers. But 20 years on, scars remain

    • Francisco Bravo Cabrera · September 15

      Yes, you are right Aiva, scars definitely remain…let’s hope that nothing like this ever happens anywhere.

  8. equipsblog · September 17

    Francisco, Wonderful article. You layout good questions in a very logical format without the batshit crazy innuendos that I have seen on some conspiracy theory blogposts. I could not even determine what they were alluding to because there was so much hype in the message. My guess is that the US military does not fly CAP (combat air patrol) over DC and New York because of the cost, strain on pilots and aircraft, and the people who would immediately protest about living in an armed camp. They did fly CAP after 9-11 and I heard some of the military expressing shock and dismay at seeing the jets fly overhead.

    • Francisco Bravo Cabrera · September 17

      Thank you Pat, I was not aware of that fact reference CAP. I am not a fan of conspiracy theories either and I do not agree with those who see a conspiracy everywhere and in everything, however, the attacks on the World Trade Centre, Pentagon and the fourth plane that was downed in Pennsylvania, do make me think that the “official” story is a little hard to believe. All the best and a happy weekend to you!

      • equipsblog · September 17

        Same to you Francisco.

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