11 September 2006

11 September

Should I do this?
Write about how events of 5 years ago impacted me?
Like Pearl Harbor and the Kennedy assassination, everyone will remember that day.
Can I put my thoughts to words without emotion getting in the way?
Probably not. And maybe that's a good thing.

Leaving work at 6:30 A.M., I was tired. My night shift had been quiet- no flights. But although I can sleep at work when the routine tasks are completed, I always have one eye open. Sleep at work is fitful at best.
Before I could get horizontal in my own bed, I had a task to complete. Big Bubba had been mowing a neighbors lawn, and the mower had shut down on him. He's no mechanic, so he couldn't tell me what was wrong with the mower. I had to find a way to make it run in order to bring it home to tinker with it.

Listening to NPR on the way home, the first fuzzy reports came in:
A twin engine airplane had hit the World Trade Center.

My thoughts immediately were of the B-25 hitting the Empire State Building during WWII, and that some guy in a Beech Baron had gotten off course in bad weather and had impacted the WTC.
Tragic, but not unimaginable.

At home, car radio left on for further information, I loaded tool kit and jumper cables.
Under the seat of the mower is a safety cut-out that shuts down the whole shebang if the rider gets dismounted. That switch had failed.
I defeated it by jumping across it with a wire, started the mower, and drove it home.

Fox News on the TV at home, I walked in just in time to see the second airplane collide with the second tower.
My knees buckled.
That was no Beech Baron.
We are at war.

I called Sara Jean. "Are you watching the news?"
"Turn on the news."

She now says she wishes I had left her blissfully ignorant until she had finished her work.

Big Bubba was a High School Senior at a Private School. I called.
The secretary answered and said all the kids were in one room watching unfolding events.
"Would you like to talk to him?"
"Yes, please."

"Are you okay?"
"Yes Dad. What do you think?"
"I think we are at war."

No sleep for the rest of the day, yet back to an all-nighter at work again that night.
Initially all air traffic was grounded. Soon, the powers that be realized that unless Public Service and EMS operations continued, lotsa folks would die. We were notified we would be allowed to fly, but had to be in touch with ATC at all times.
Ridiculous. We fly low enough most of the time that ATC cannot receive us, nor us them.
A moot point anyway, because the phone didn't ring. That was a good thing too, because if someone had called, I would have turned the flight down. I was in no shape to fly safely.
Pre 9/11, I had walked out on the helipad at work and counted 8 anti-collision lights from horizon to horizon........ big airplanes up high and small airplanes droning so I could hear their recip. engines down low. How odd and sad to walk out on a clear night and see nothing but stars.
But wait! Landing lights down South, headed Northbound. They pass close enough for me to tell it is a C-130 on landing approach to the Air Force Base just North of us.
That fact is simultaneously comforting and saddening.

The U.S.A. is "King of The Hill".
When there were two superpowers, we were the lesser of two evils, and we had allies that had a common foe. Our Allies were glad we were in their corner.

Now we have no common enemy, and our Allies fear us.
They want to deny they are at risk here.
Terrorism? Aimed at us?
Absolutely not! No one wants to hurt us! You, (the U.S.), are the problem.
You guys are stirring the hornets nest. Stop it!"

Close friends talk about reaching "consensus with our Allies", yet admit the U.N. is a failure and have no good answer about where we go to talk and reach consensus.

And history? What's that?
Over a ten year period, there were 17 U.N. resolutions to Saddam Hussein that were ignored, with no "consensus" response. Our Allies watch, unable to control events, knowing they are safe so long as the "King of the Hill" is the big target.

So, what happens when the King is dead?
Who is next?

It's my hope that the world as a whole gets the wake-up call before it is too late.

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