Free Markets, Free People


I never watch morning TV. I can’t stand all the caffeine fueled happy talk on the morning news shows and anyway I’d rather ease into the news cycle the old fashioned way – with a newspaper. But on September 11th of 2001 I happened to be listening to the radio when I heard a report that it was believed that an airplane had hit one of the twin towers of the World Trade Center.

I walked over and turned on the TV. I forget which channel or network it was but I remember the anchor talking about what was then thought to be a horrific accident. It couldn’t have been 5 minutes later that the second tower was hit.

I stood in horrified amazement. I realized it was no accident but I didn’t understand yet what it all meant. Then the report came in about the Pentagon. Finally I realized that it was an orchestrated attack. I wouldn’t hear about the plane that crashed in PA for a while.

I remember doing something I never do – sitting in front of that TV all day. It was like the earth stood still. I watched the towers burn. I watched the people flee. I watched in horror as others jumped. I watched the towers collapse one by one. I watched as fire and police rescue headed into the disaster area as civilians fled. I watched as ash, like a volcanic explosion might bring, cover that portion of the city. And I watched as New Yorkers fled the city on foot over clogged bridges.

It was a stunning day – an almost visceral feeling of anger finally descended on me as I began to understand the full implications of what happened.

9/11 is certainly a day that will live in infamy as we were the victim of a cowardly attack that cost the lives of 3,000 people. But, as is often the case with Americans, there were a lot of heroes that stepped up that day. And the basic decency of our fellow countrymen was also evident as businesses and individuals did what was necessary to help and comfort those who had been able to flee those towers.

9/11 is a day for remembrance. Not a day for “community service” or whatever it is that some are trying to turn it into. It should be a somber day in which we remember those who died, recognize that we have enemies in the world who will stop at nothing to strike us and redouble our commitment to protect our homeland from such attacks.

And to all those who lost their lives on that day, we should dedicate at least a portion of this one to their memory.



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20 Responses to 9/11

  • I make the same post every single year since 9/11 also- Still absolutely NOTHING built to fill in that crater.

    Post-firebombing Dresden got back on their feet faster.

  • I said most of what I had to say in a long post two years ago today. A key passage:

    I look at 3000 people killed, and I listen to the terrorists in their own words. And, based on that, here’s what I believe. I believe that there are many terrorists who would willingly and enthusiastically set off a nuclear weapon in a American city, if they could acquire one and place it there. I believe there are leaders of countries in the Middle East who would love to see that happen, and would willingly help make it happen if they could escape retaliation. And that if it happened, there are places in the Middle East where crowds would pour into the streets to cheer and celebrate, as they did after 9/11.

    I believe that if by extraordinary odds it came to pass than an American president were forced to retaliate by using nuclear weapons somewhere in the Middle East, then he would give the order, and sit in his chair with his head in his hands, weeping for the innocent people he knew would die. And then get up and talk to the press, realizing that as a result of what he was about to say, that he would be condemned in the history books as a mass murderer for a thousand years.

    That is what I believe to be the difference between the two sides.

    This is the reality that the head-in-the-sand left has never embraced about 9/11. And I think never will. Until it happens, if we are that unfortunate. By then, of course, their lamentations will be too late.

  • I live in the center of the triangle formed by the three corners of New York City, Washington, DC and Shanksville, PA. On that day, the most chilling remembrance was walking outside after watching hours of TV and noticing that all the air traffic was gone … near perfect silence.

    • I remember that. I was in an office about four miles from Ground Zero, listening to a radio report about a plane that crashed into one of the towers, when the radio reporter excitedly told us that a second plane had, seemingly deliberately, flown into the other tower.

      I was on 35th and 5th Avenue when I looked down and saw a river of people on 5th Avenue as far south as I could see, with a massive grey cloud looming overhead. It almost looked like a painting, and I couldn’t help but think that it looked like the aftermath of a volcanic eruption.

      I was somewhere around 55th Street when we all heard a jet engine overhead. Everyone on the street froze until it had passed. One fellow with a mid-eastern appearance and a bag slung over his shoulder was clearly feeling uncomfortable from all the stares being directed at him. Not angry stares, but fearful ones.

      It took two or three hours of wandering before I found a subway line that was operating, so that I could get out of Manhattan and home safely. And then I spent the next two days watching video of the events until I’d had enough. For weeks afterwards, I couldn’t help but glance nervously at the Empire State Building, which I pass every day on the way to and from my job. I kept worrying that if I watched it too long, I’d see a jetliner making a beeline for it.

      I didn’t lose any friends or co-workers in the attack. A former co-worker worked for a firm in the first tower, and despite the urging of a guard after the first attack, she decided to leave the buildings. Her co-workers decided to heed the guard’s advice and return to their office. She was the only employee of her firm to survive that day.

      The scale or scope of the tragedy didn’t really hit home until sometime later, when I was watching a documentary and saw photos and video of the lobby of 2 WTC, a lobby I’d walked through many times in the past. That made it much more tangible to me.

  • We got off easy on 9/11.

    That’s the number one thing to take away from that day.

    Remember those who died by understanding that it could have been, and certainly still has promise to be, far worse.

    • “Lets Roll”

      • I think of the capability of just one U.S. special forces operator. Then I think of the capability of thousands of them. That’s satisfying, to know what those people can do. But then there are millions of people like Todd Beamer who can turn in a moment and act to the heart of a matter. The line between one and the other is straight. It’s heroic virtue and we can use as much of it as we can get.

  • 9/11 should be a day to reach out to the islamofascists, try to understand their grievances, and change our ways to accommodate them.

    Hope and change.

    • Indeed. And one of their grievances is that they just don’t have enough nuclear weapons. But we can stand by and let Iran get them, and I’m sure that will reassure the Islamic supremacists of our good intentions, and they’ll never threaten us again. Heck, they’ll probably even give us a gift to show their gratitude. Probably a Pegasus.

  • Should we really be remembering what happened 8 years ago? After all isn’t it possible that someone somewhere may be offended by that rememberance? Won’t BO then have to issue another apology related to how bad we are and that we are sorry to have offended anyone?

  • Those actions of ordinary people on that day really were amazing. I was happened to be working at an elementary school just up Columbia Pike from the Pentagon on 9 11- we were in hearing distance of the explosion.

    The way that our staff rose to the occasion by making students feel safe and reassuring the parents who came pouring into the school was inspiring. Nobody knew just what was going on, only that DC as well as New York was under some sort of attack, but you could see that the teachers would have stayed focused on our kids even if the walls had started caving in.

  • On this eighth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks,
    I would like to suggest that everyone pause to remember those
    innocent people who died that day, and the nearly 5,000
    Americans who have died since, with thousands more wounded
    and maimed for life in their voluntary service to our country.

    We will never forget.

  • 9/11 was the day that I changed my political outlook forever. I woke up that day and I will never go back to sleep.

    I was part of a professional service org for Sun Microsystems and I spent many a night in hotels and many a flight going somewhere (half the time not remembering where I was that morning).

    That day,I was heading down to the restaurant when my wife called me to look at the news and once down in the restaurant all of us (the other diners) were glued to the scene of the first hit. At that moment, I saw the second plane hit and realized that there was no way this was an accident. I was speaking to my wife at the time and the words came out of my mouth matter of factly that this looked like a coordinated terrorist attack. We were both silent for a moment and she told me to come home and I said that I was not sure I would be able to for a while. So I told her to stay home, and not to go out, that I would try to get home when I could. Like Bruce, spent the rest of the day watching and listening to accounts between trying to rent a call to drive the few thousand miles home (no luck).

    All the guys in my team were close friends and I knew that some of them had been scheduled to take planes out of Logan and New York. Many hours later, I finally found out that none of them had decided to fly that day (luck or something else). We found out that two colleagues in another group were unaccounted for (later to find out that they perished), one in the second tower (who went back after the all clear) and the other in one of the planes.

    Every year, the events of that day are as clear as yesterday. But that is a good thing and no one should forget and no one should appologize.

  • “I just got married and was waking up to get off to college while finishing my last year in journalism. My wife called and said “turn on the television”. I did, and the second plane had not hit yet. When I got to college, as I walked up to the television studio in the Basket Ball Arena my professor walked out, and with the sun reflecting off the domed arena a shadow threw his hands up and hollered, “Go home and turn on the television…This is your Pearl Harbor” That is why I built this site. Joe Burns was his name.”

    I found this on pretty cool opinions there…


  • Great post!
    We have 4 videos in tribute to the events of 9/11 posted on COMMON CENTS…
    Give a look….

  • I agree and ask everyone to make this a day of remembrance. Regardless of your political outlook, or why you think it happened, or even how… 3,000 people lost their lives this day 8 years ago, and they deserve to be remembered.

  • Perhaps you’d best wait until tomorrow to view it, but here is the official government site,, the Obama administration is using to commemorate 9-11 as National Community Organizers Day or something.