september-11th

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Have you ever lost someone you love and wanted one more conversation, one more chance to make up for the time when you thought they would be here forever? If so, then you know you can go your whole life collecting days, and none will outweigh the one you wish you had back.” - Mitch Albom

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The Windows on the World restaurant on the North Tower (Building One) of the original World Trade Center complex in Lower Manhattan.

Windows on the World
was destroyed when the North Tower collapsed during the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. At the time of the attack on the World Trade Center, the restaurant was hosting regular breakfast patrons and the Risk Waters Financial Technology Congress.
Everyone present in the restaurant when American Airlines Flight 11 penetrated the North Tower perished that day, as all stairwells leading to below the impact zone were blocked immediately. Victims trapped in Windows died either from smoke inhalation from the fire, jumping or falling to their deaths, or the eventual collapse of the North Tower 102 minutes later.

At the time of the attacks, there were 72 restaurant staff present in the restaurant, including acting manager Christine Anne Olender, whose desperate calls to Port Authority police represented the restaurant’s final communications. 16 Incisive Media-Risk Waters Group employees, and 76 other guests/contractors were also present.
After about 9:40 AM, no further distress calls from the restaurant were made. The last people to leave the restaurant before Flight 11 collided with the North Tower at 8:46 AM were Michael Nestor, Liz Thompson, Geoffrey Wharton, and Richard Tierney. They departed at 8:44 AM and survived the attack.

World Trade Center lessor Larry Silverstein was regularly holding breakfast meetings in Windows on the World with tenants as part of his recent acquisition of the Twin Towers from the Port Authority, and was scheduled to be in the restaurant on the morning of the attacks. However, his wife insisted he go to a dermatologist’s appointment that morning, whereby he avoided death.

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My uncle had a job interview at 8:30am in New York City inside the first tower of the World Trade Center on September 11th, 2001 (I know, what are the odds). On the train ride into the city, around 7:45, my uncle received a phone call from the boss saying the interview was moved until 10 am. When my uncle got into the city, he decided to have lunch around Penn Station and wait until 10 for his interview. At 8:46 AM, the first plane hit the tower he was supposed to be in. If that isn’t a miracle, I don’t know what is.
What i’m trying to get at is we have to start counting our blessings and stop taking simple luxuries like family and relationships for granted. Everyone tonight, especially Americans, should reflect on the 3,000 innocent lives lost on that horrific day, and realize that it could have been YOUR family inside of that tower, jumping 70+ stories onto solid concrete because the idea of sudden impact sounded a lot better than burning to death. Don’t take family for granted, don’t take life for granted, and please realize how fortunate you are that it wasn’t you or your family inside those buildings. And if it was your family, just know you are in my, and millions of Americans prayers tonight.

September Morning

Alarm clock goes off, birds are singing
Shortly after, ears are ringing
I feel the heat upon my skin
Born from the machine come crashing in.

The scorched air brings me to cough
Ash settles on my sleeves- brush it off
There’s smoke everywhere, so I drop to the floor
And like a baby, I crawl to the door.

Down the stairs I fly
No time to stop or breathe or cry
But I have to pause when I see the fire coming up toward me
Nowhere to run, nowhere to go, nowhere to flee.

Tie together a curtain, a tablecloth, a discarded blouse
I step out the window, my wife is waiting at our house
My sweaty hands slip, my daughter is still so small
My hands are empty, and I fall.

youtube

Jon Stewart’s opening of “The Daily Show,” directly after September 11th, 2001.

Fifteen Septembers Later

On September 11, 2001, America came together. Here is a list of things I will not tolerate today, tomorrow, or ever. You shouldn’t either.

-Jokes about 9/11. Almost 3,000 people died, and over 6,000 people were injured. Lives were changed. The passengers of Flight 93 sacrificed themselves so others could live. There’s literally nothing to joke about this.

-Islamophobia. Newsflash: Muslims did not do this. Terrorism has no religion. Too many Muslim people died because of this, something they did not do, something they did not encourage, something they did not want.

-Disrespect to the US Military. Hey, guess what, they risk their lives for YOU on a daily basis. In the words of Lecrae - “When y'all free here saying you don’t wanna be here / Well you probably couldn’t breathe here if I didn’t load a couple magazines here / Y'all just complain in America / I’m jumping out of military planes for America / Aye I was made in America / That’s why I’m out here saving America / I got a brother in the cemetery now / Cause he wanted y'all safe / And everybody want the freedom but nobody want to hear about-face / We bled for America / To keep y'all fed in America / But what’s the point of talking a lot of y'all don’t really even care America” (Welcome To America). Yes, they make questionable choices. Yes, they’re not perfect. But like Lecrae said “…you probably couldn’t breathe here if I did load a couple magazines here…” Without the military, America might not even exist. They did their part on 9/11, working tirelessly to help.

-Disrespect to the US first responders. 411 emergency responders lost their lives that day. Firefighters, chaplains, EMTs, police officers. I know a man who went up to help. He doesn’t talk about it. Can you blame him? I can’t imagine the horror he saw.

Today is not the day to point fingers, to hate against one another. Today is the day to come together, again, and make a difference in the world. Be the change - don’t just complain about it online.

“Today, our fellow citizens, our way of life, our very freedom came under attack in a series of deliberate and deadly terrorist acts. The victims were in airplanes or in their offices: secretaries, business men and women, military and federal workers, moms and dads, friends and neighbors. Thousands of lives were suddenly ended by evil, despicable acts of terror. The pictures of airplanes flying into buildings, fires burning, huge – huge structures collapsing have filled us with disbelief, terrible sadness, and a quiet, unyielding anger. These acts of mass murder were intended to frighten our nation into chaos and retreat. But they have failed. Our country is strong.”

- George W. Bush

Today marks 15 years since that tragic day. Never forget the evil we witnessed that morning and never forget the heroism that followed in the wake of that evil.

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Indian-born doctor Sneha Philip is officially listed as the 2751st victim of 9/11.  But for years after her disappearance, Sneha’s final hours were shrouded in mystery. She was last seen the day before the attacks, captured on camera by a Manhattan department store.  When she didn’t return home that night, as she frequently didn’t, her husband Ron thought little of it. After the attacks, he returned to their apartment, only to find it empty. The windows left open, dust had settled throughout, though the only tracks left were those of their 2 kittens.

When police initially determined that Sneha had perished in the attacks, Ron took matters into his own hands.  After hiring private investigator Ken Gallant and reviewing the evidence, the pair eventually agreed, theorising that Sneha had rushed to the site to provide medical help, and died in the ensuing collapse. However, when police began to investigate further, they came up with a different theory entirely. A respectable New York doctor to the outside world, Sneha led something of a double life - suffering from alcohol and drug abuse, marital problems, work dismissals and even trouble with the law, having spent a night in jail earlier that year.  On September 10th, the last day Sneha was seen alive, she had been officially charged with falsely reporting an incident, to which she pleaded not guilty.  According to police reports, she and her husband fought loudly at the courthouse, in the last exchange Ron would ever share with his wife.  With this in mind, authorities suggested she may have intentionally disappeared, or even been murdered, on the day before the attacks.

Ron strongly opposed the claims made against Sneha, along with various members of her family.  They claimed she had been fired not due to her alcoholism, but because her superiors had deemed her a whistleblower.  Conceding that though his wife did often spend nights at lesbian bars, Ron was sure that it was not for sexual purposes.  The drinking, he hoped, was just a phase she was going through, and he denied ever arguing with Sneha on the day of her arraignment.  After being struck from the list of victims, Sneha’s family appealed the ruling, and was she was eventually re-added 7 years later. Like over 1000 other victims that day, no physical remains of Sneha have ever been found.

Republicans are gonna make a big deal because Hillary Clinton has pneumonia and stumbled at a 9/11 event today.

But I’d like to see how well any of them would do standing for an hour and half in warm, humid weather in a suit while dealing with pneumonia.

This should be a testament to her stamina, not an indictment of her health.