We Remember 9-11
by John Davis Local 2195

On September 11, 2003, the world marks the second observance of the terrorist attacks, which occurred on September 11, 2001. President Bush has asked that flags be flown at half-staff and that Americans take a moment of silence to observe the occasion. The UAW and other unions around the world recognize this observation and remember our fallen sisters and brothers.

Two years ago today, no one suspected that America could be caught off guard by such a brutal display of hatred. Each of us are working Americans and feel the loss of those of the 3,025 innocent victims who died that day. In the twin towers in New York City, 2,801 people got up that morning and headed to work, the same as our members did on that fateful day. Riding up the elevators to their floors, there were discussions concerning ball games, mortgages, the children and the plans for lunch that day. However, for those 2,801 victims, lunch time never arrived.

At 7:69 AM, Flight 11 left Boston’s Logan Airport headed for Los Angeles, California. On board there were 81 passengers and 11 crewmembers. The plane was filled with people whose destination was business trips and vacations. The 11 crewmembers were at work the same as our employees were that day. Simply doing their part to perform the duties required in the daily job. The passengers talked among themselves or read from flight magazines. Their thoughts were miles away, pondering the events of their life once the plane reached its destination. However, just a few fleeting moments into their flight, their lives were changed forever. At 8:46AM, Flight 11 slammed into the north tower of the World Trade Center, erupting into a massive fireball, spreading 16,000 pounds of jet fuel in the process.

At 8:14AM on the same morning, Flight 175 left Logan Airport as well headed for Los Angeles. On board there were 56 passengers and 9 crewmembers. Their fate paralleled that of those aboard Flight 11. At 9:03AM, Flight 175 hits the south tower of the World Trade Center, again exploding into flames.

At 8:14AM, Flight 77 leaves Dulles Airport near Washington, D.C. headed for Los Angeles. On board are 64 passengers and crew. At 9:24AM the FAA notifies NORAD that Flight 77 has been hijacked, with two F-16 fighter jets leaving Langley Air Force base at 9:30AM to intercept the hijacked plane. At 9:37AM, Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon, killing all aboard plus many on the ground.

At 8:42AM, Flight 93 leaves Newark, New Jersey headed for San Francisco, with 44 on board. At 9:16AM the FAA notifies NORAD that Flight 93 may have been hijacked. According to the New York Times, those two F-16’s that were dispatched from Langley are told to patrol Washington and protect the White House at all cost. Passengers on Flight 93 make frantic cell phone calls to loved ones telling them they have been hijacked but plan on launching an attack to retake the plane. At 10:03AM, Flight 93 crashes into the ground near Shanksville, Pennsylvania killing all on board. The first battle in the war on terrorism had just been fought.

Just minutes after Flight 11 struck the north tower, fire alarms began going off all over stations in New York City. The first trucks arrived on the scene at 8:50AM, as fire fighters and police offices began to enter the tower. By 9:40AM, more than 50 fire companies with 400 fire fighters have arrived to battle the blaze. The two towers are filled with fire and police personnel attending to the victims, battling the fire and evacuated the survivors. Then, at 9:59AM, the south tower collapses burying all that remained inside under the rubble. The falling debris covers the street below. At 10:28AM, the scene is duplicated as the north tower collapses from the top down, again trapping those left inside.

Office workers, airline personnel, airline passengers Pentagon workers, fire fighters, police officers, Trade Center staff of all types are lost within those horrifying 100 minutes that past between the initial impact of Flight 11 and the fall of the north tower.

At 7:45PM that night, it was announced that at least 78 police offices are missing and that half of those 400 fire fighters had died in the collapse. It would be days before the fate of some were known, leaving loved ones to toll over anxious hours waiting the news.

When the dust had cleared and the final count was in, a total of 3,025 would be dead. The only crime each of these victims committed was being in the wrong place at the wrong time. People just like you and I who got up one morning, prepared for work, left their home, and kissed their loved ones good bye. Then just a few short hours later, they stepped off into eternity amidst a world of chaos and terror.

In addition to those who lost their lives, hundreds others were injured, being left physically and emotionally scared. A great wound was opened across our land, a wound that we still feel. There has been healing since that time, but with any wound the pain still remains hidden just below the surface.

Webster states that innocence is “uncorrupted by wickedness, malice or wrongdoing.” As a nation we lost our innocence on that fateful day. No longer were we safe from the lashing out of wickedness, but knew the stark reality of innocence lost.

Hatred is a mighty wickedness that corrupts the hearts of men and leads them to all types of wrong. It was hatred that drove those planes into the buildings, and hatred that robbed the future of those 3,025 victims. One of hatred most powerful weapons is that it has the ability to evolve and grow. When hatred is unleashed upon us, we become infected with this cancer and in turn end up hating those we hold responsible. While our hatred may not boil to the point of mass destruction, it can destroy us. Love is the only true antidote for hatred, and love only can heal our wounds.

As we pause for our moment of silent mediation tomorrow, remember the words of the one who set the greatest example of love; Matthew 5 Verse 44. “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you.”

Hatred cannot heal our wounds, for love alone can accomplish that. Remember, it is on the darkness night that the stars appear the brightest. Never give up hope, never give up love and never forget those who have given the most. Today, labor remembers those who lost their lives on the job and those loved ones who are left behind to carry on without them.

Peace My Sisters and Brothers,
John Davis







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