11 AND COUNTING 9/11 REMEMBERED
Today the 11th anniversary of the most heinous terror strike ever will be remembered by the families and friends of the thousands of victims who lost their lives when two hijacked aircraft struck New Yorks Twin Towers, another struck the Pentagon and one was brought down in Pennsylvania after passengers overpowered the highjackers on board and prevented another similar scenario, sacrificing their own lives in the process. Also remembered today will be the rescue workers who have since their heroic efforts died themselves, after ingesting toxic substances and succumbed to a number of ailments identified as being directly linked to the event. Ten times remembrance services were held since then with the main culprit still on the loose after the Bush administration took their eyes off the main target and instead led, if not outright misled America and many of her allies into a war in Iraq, rather than hunting down Bin Laden and his bunch of terrorists and bringing them to justice.
This year though is different as terror mastermind Osama Bin Laden has finally met his own fate at the hand of American special forces after having lived in Pakistan for years, where officials predictably denied any knowledge of his presence as well as any complicity but in turn were swift in accusing America of violating their sovereignty. Bush wanted Bin Laden dead or alive, and it was finally the Obama administration which delivered a promise made back then but not kept at the time. Many of Al Qaidas key figures involved in the 9 / 11 events are now dead or in custody but the threat remains potent as a new generation of terrorists has since emerged, constantly probing and exploring new ways to wreak havoc on air transport, public infrastructure installations and of course not sparing the innocent in their pursuit of evil.
The events of that fateful day radically altered air transportation security, continue to impact on everyone wanting to fly until today and have led to a series of additional measures put in place by airlines and governments to prevent a repeat.
After 9 / 11 nothing to do with air travel was ever to be the same again as airlines and security agencies are now working hand in hand to anticipate new threats and new terrorist methods like using explosive underwear and devise defensive anti measures to keep us passengers safe. Inspite of glaring inconsistencies, and failures, so far it has worked, with a bit of luck at times surely and with a good dose of annoyance when little village chiefs in TSA or other uniforms take out their own agenda on travelers. But this is not the place or time for such reflections. Today is all about those who perished, the firefighters of New Yorks FDNY, the innocent on the four aircraft, the innocent on the ground in New York and Washington, and last, and well deserved for them, the cowardly perpetrators of these unspeakable crimes. There was no warm welcome in an imagined heaven for them but the hottest fires of hell surely are their eternal reward now.
And as the clock moves towards the moment when the first plane struck, it is time to stand in silence for a while and remember how the world changed in that instant, to remember the souls lost and to think of those who were left behind without fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters and have to remember year after year what tragedy befell them on the most personal level.