Where were you when 9/11 came down on mankind?

The September 11 Memorial

The September 11 Memorial

By Ludy Astraquillo Ongkeko, Ph.D.

Once again, 9/11’s threshold is on us. The date is such a grim reminder, so painful, because it dredges up loss of lives.

More than 3,000 lives were lost that day. Inevitably, 9/11 surfaces when friends and relations talk about how the term ‘terrorism’ did attain worldwide notoriety and how air travel has been direly affected.

Questions are almost identical: “Where were you when 9/11 took place?” The query is close to the parallel: “Where were you when President Kennedy was murdered, and what were we all doing then?”

Numbers among us can recall what was going on in our lives a dozen years ago when 9/11 came down on mankind. That date changed the world forever.

Just recalling how commercial airlines were flown into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, seemed far from real, just nightmares that could never have taken place. But those spectra did happen.

The attack on the Pentagon caused the death of 184 people. Forty were killed on United Air’s Flight 99 in Pennsylvania when determined and dauntless passengers were able to prevent another building in Washington from becoming a victim of that same flight bound for the West Coast. Had those same passengers failed in attacking those hijackers, who knows whether or not the Capitol or even the White House would have been spared?

Lisa Beamer, widow of one of the passengers authored: “Let’s Roll,” the expression traced to her hero of a husband, Todd Beamer, one passenger on that ill-fated Flight 99. Her book shed so much light on what happened.

A 15-minute taped conversation with a telephone operator Todd Beamer had spoken with just before their plane crashed, was instrumental in providing information on the manner by which passengers fought off their hijackers.

“Let’s Roll,” has become such a popular term that it has now taken its place in history. Its meaning is lucid: to initiate immediate action.

Somehow, 9/11 also brings out subjects on peace in the Middle East which has been taken up in Congress: in Syria where the use of poison gas has been bruited about. Again, the Syrian situation has evolved into a critical subject that President Obama has discussed with ‘both sides’ in Congress.

The world has heard, as this publication goes to press, how both the conservatives and the liberals have been debating over the proposed ‘military action’ on what the Chief Executive believes in: to prevent the loss of more human lives.

Weighing the crisis in Syria as it comes to the fore each single day, is a striking fact: no body, no force can guess what the outcome will be for mankind.

That deplorable situation in Syria has gone very far.

The world counts with thinking and caring people of faith.

When the Iraq War drew the United States military then, the cry was, “Let’s bring the troops home.”

Whether we like it or not, the 9/11 debacle is still there to grapple with because it is a strong reminder of terrorism. That is the same case in the Middle East today.

It is hoped that when the smoke shall have cleared, and a decision will be reached about Syria and the hoped-for solution to the Middle East crisis, the American people will look around for more steps to see the outcome of their leaders’ quest for peace.

Indeed, the horrors of 9/11 are timely reminders on what today’s absence of world peace tells us. Sadly, and deplorably, as we all watch sights unfold, showing how lives have been lost traceable to terrorism, the rampage goes unabated.

Initially, as television scenes brought news to the world about the 2001 horrendous sights on the 9/11 sites in New York City, it gave us the meaning of terrorism. That term came down like a world war. It did become a war that has made its rounds on countless occasions.

Simple demonstrations, played and re-played at every single airport each time passengers follow the law: removing footwear and acquiescing to attire inspection, aside from all luggage items ferried are common scenes that are so quiet and still in their eloquence, never to be questioned; all needed is but to follow. To comply.

Words need not be uttered by passengers.

Every search must be done. How long such plays and re-plays will take place does not have any answer in the world today.

And yet, there is 9/11 to remember in the year 2013. How long must those scenes keep on going?

Whether mankind likes it or not, the world today is still alive with the memories of 9/11.

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