Thursday, September 11, 2008

In Remembrance, September 11, 2001

Seven years have passed since September 11. I was having breakfast in the Times Square area with my professor from my MBA days, Eric Flamholtz. Eric was in town from Los Angeles and I hadn't seen him since 1981, twenty years earlier. When I left the restaurant everyone at Times Square was staring at the electronic news ticker. I didn't pay attention and got onto the subway. The police were talking about a building that had been leveled, but I did not believe what they were saying. In Brooklyn, the train stopped and the passengers were told to take a bus down Flatbush Avenue. (Brooklyn College is located along Flatbush Ave.) While I was on the bus a woman sitting next to me told me that the Twin Towers had been destroyed. When I arrived at Brooklyn College my office-mate was conferring with a student and I told him about the destruction of the Towers. At first he did not believe me. My students asked to be dismissed early. I can't remember if I said yes, I believe I did. We had trouble getting home. I could not take my usual subway line because it went past what is now known as Ground Zero. I took a train that went over one of the bridges. You could see the smoke pouring out of the crushed towers, and the smell was strong. Desperation was everywhere. Upon learning of the full extent of the tragedy, I was heart broken.

Seeing and smelling this horror from a couple of miles away was horror enough. I pray for those who died and for those who lost family members in this terrible event.

If I examine my and others' response of incredulity at the time the attack occurred, the subsequent disrespectful denials, frivolous blaming of the US and Israeli governments, and on Zionists and Jews, make sense. A terrible event creates anxiety and anxiety creates denial. I have nothing but contempt for those who would allow childish fantasies to stain the memories of those whose lives were ended. I pray for the dead, sick and injured and hope that we can properly live up to their memories. I celebrate the courageous police, firemen and rescue workers who risked and lost their lives on that fateful day.

I sincerely hope that we do not give up the effort to capture Osama bin Laden.

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