War on Terror: September 2017 Archives

I'm late this year taking time to remember the Islamist attacks on America and the husbands and wives, sons and daughters who died that day and in the years since in the pursuit of the evil movement that perpetrated the attacks. My thoughts have been occupied much of the day with friends and places that were under threat from Hurricane Irma and with duties of home and work.

I begin by re-reading Tom Junod's story in Esquire from last year: "The Falling Man: An unforgettable story." It is the story of the famous photograph of a man who has jumped or fallen from the World Trade Center, plunging headlong, vertically through the air, paralleling the vertical lines of the two towers. Junod pursues the photographer (who also photographed the dying Robert F. Kennedy, the photographs, and the mystery of the identity of the man in the photograph.

...the only certainty we have is the certainty we had at the start: At fifteen seconds after 9:41 a.m., on September 11, 2001, a photographer named Richard Drew took a picture of a man falling through the sky--falling through time as well as through space. The picture went all around the world, and then disappeared, as if we willed it away. One of the most famous photographs in human history became an unmarked grave, and the man buried inside its frame--the Falling Man--became the Unknown Soldier in a war whose end we have not yet seen. Richard Drew's photograph is all we know of him, and yet all we know of him becomes a measure of what we know of ourselves. The picture is his cenotaph, and like the monuments dedicated to the memory of unknown soldiers everywhere, it asks that we look at it, and make one simple acknowledgment.

That we have known who the Falling Man is all along.

Please take a moment to remember Jayesh Shah, a Tulsa Memorial High School and University of Tulsa alumnus, who died in the North Tower. Say a prayer for Jay's family, who still deeply miss their brother, son, husband, and father. This 2002 story from the Houston Chronicle tells about Jay's family and their desperate search through the streets of New York for hopeful news that never came. In 2006, the Shah family presented a memorial flag, made up of the names of those who died, to the children's elementary school in Katy, Texas. Last year, Sonia, Jay's oldest daughter and then a senior at Baylor University, spoke to the Associated Press about how the death of her father has motivated her to serve refugees.

Bookworm Room remembers Rick Rescorla, head of security of Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, who anticipated another attack after the 1993 bombing, relentlessly drilled employees in evacuation procedures, and on the day, guided the 2,700 workers to safety, losing only six, including himself and two members of his team, who went back in the building one last time to make sure they had everyone out. Powerline has a tribute to Rick Rescorla, with more about his earlier life as a soldier in Vietnam and links to other tributes.

Last year, theologian Ravi Zacharias considered the stories of rescue and loss and asks, "Where was God?" As a prologue, he wrote:

As some would continue to perpetrate the myth of progress, we live on this fifteenth anniversary of 9/11 under the cloud of a world dramatically changed since that terrible day. Anyone who travels sees and feels what a murderous ideology has done to our world. May we never forget what happened and ever be in pursuit of wisdom and courage to deal with those whose philosophy thrives on hate. Our prayers are for the families that lost a loved one and with gratitude for those who came to the rescue.

Civilization is always threatened by ideologues who embrace the moment and lose sight of the essential value of every human life. Answers will only be found in embracing the God of love and living by his precepts. Loving God and our fellow human beings are the two laws on which all other laws stand. May God guide our leaders. The Scriptures call us to understand the times and know what to do (see 1 Chronicles 12:32). May we be faithful.

Earlier this year, Yahya Cholil Staquf, the head of the largest Muslim organization in Indonesia, the country with the largest population of Muslims, told an interviewer that the West needs to acknowledge the connection between orthodox Islam and violence:

Western politicians should stop pretending that extremism and terrorism have nothing to do with Islam. There is a clear relationship between fundamentalism, terrorism, and the basic assumptions of Islamic orthodoxy. So long as we lack consensus regarding this matter, we cannot gain victory over fundamentalist violence within Islam.

Radical Islamic movements are nothing new. They've appeared again and again throughout our own history in Indonesia. The West must stop ascribing any and all discussion of these issues to "Islamophobia." Or do people want to accuse me -- an Islamic scholar -- of being an Islamophobe too?...

Too many Muslims view civilization, and the peaceful co-existence of people of different faiths, as something they must combat. Many Europeans can sense this attitude among Muslims.

There's a growing dissatisfaction in the West with respect to Muslim minorities, a growing fear of Islam. In this sense, some Western friends of mine are "Islamophobic." They're afraid of Islam. To be honest, I understand their fear ... The West cannot force Muslims to adopt a moderate interpretation of Islam. But Western politicians should stop telling us that fundamentalism and violence have nothing to do with traditional Islam. That is simply wrong.


MORE:

The ABC miniseries The Path to 9/11 told the story of the events, beginning with the 1993 World Trade Center attack, that led to the 9/11/2001 attack. Because it put certain American politicians in a bad light, it has not been rebroadcast in the US, and the original version is hard to find, but not impossible for the tech savvy. You can watch a documentary about the political pressure that led to the censorship of the mini-series, "Blocking the Path to 9/11," on the Internet Archive.

The Telegraph: 9/11: How the drama unfolded aboard Air Force One, inside the White House bunker and at the Pentagon

Video / audio from the day:

FAA, American Airlines, & NORAD real-time audio as air traffic controllers, airline officials, and military officials became aware of and responded to the attacks.
WNBC live coverage
Fox 5 live coverage
CNN live coverage

Footage from Hoboken, N.J., on 9/11: "Footage from September 3rd and 11th 2001 in Hoboken, NJ by Bruce Miller, Brad Miller, and Michael Frank and in Manhattan on September 19, 2001 by Bruce Miller. And some subsequent footage I shot during the 6-month Tribute in Light and Fleet Week 2002." Hoboken is directly across the Hudson River from lower Manhattan.

Some personal recollections of the day:

A year after the attacks, an exhibit of photos showing the aftermath, recovery efforts, and the indomitable spirit of New Yorkers toured the nation and is still online: Here Is New York.

Here Is New York has added a site called Voices of 9/11, video interviews with 500 eyewitnesses, recorded in 2002 and 2003.

New York singer/songwriter Beth Sorrentino wrote this song, "Beautiful Day," a week after the attacks. "It's a reflection and narrative of the events of that day and people I knew who were there, and worrying about their safety."

Presidential spokesman Ari Fleischer offers his account of 9/11 with President Bush aboard Air Force One, and the threat that the president's plane might itself be compromised by terrorists.

In 2009, HotAir blogger Allahpundit tweeted his memories of the day. He lived in downtown Manhattan, not far from the World Trade Center.

Ron Coleman was in midtown Manhattan when the planes hit. He writes of the confusion of the day and his journey, by foot and ferry, back to his home in New Jersey.

Gerard Vanderleun was watching from Brooklyn Heights when the towers fell, recording his observations online: "Lower span of Brooklyn Bridge jammed with people walking out of the city, many covered with white ash. Ghosts. The Living Dead. BQE empty except for convoys of emergency vehicles."

Here is Robert N. Going's diary of four weeks as a volunteer in a respite center at Ground Zero.

My personal recollection of the day and the weeks that followed, including the memorial service for Jayesh Shah, a Memorial High School and University of Tulsa alumnus who had died in the North Tower.

Rusty Weiss says, "9/11 saved my life," shocking him out of complacency as a responsibility-shirking young man.

Robert Spencer lists ten things we should have done since 9/11 to defeat Islamism, but we haven't because of political correctness. Number 4 rings a bell:

It is remarkable that thirteen years after 9/11, not a single mosque or Islamic school in the U.S. has any organized program to teach Muslims why the al-Qaeda/Islamic State understanding of Islam is wrong and should be rejected. Yet they ostensibly reject this view of Islam, so why don't such programs exist? Even more remarkable than their absence is the fact that no government or law enforcement authorities are calling upon Muslims to implement them.

Such programs must be instituted, and made transparent and open to inspection, so as to ensure their sincerity and thoroughness.

Tulsans know what happens when a Muslim does speak out and explain that Islamists aren't good Muslims.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the War on Terror category from September 2017.

War on Terror: January 2017 is the previous archive.

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