Thursday, September 11, 2014

Never Forget


I remember the 11th of September, 2001 like it was yesterday.

It was a crisp late summer day here in New England. Not too warm, not too cool. It was just right.

I was at work, outside having a smoke when someone came out and said, "An airplane has crashed into the World Trade Center!"

I assumed it was an accident, much like the incident in 1945 when a B-25 Mitchell crashed into the Empire State Building while attempting to land in a thick fog. After finishing my cigarette, I headed for the cafeteria where CNN was always on.

Arriving in time to see footage of another aircraft flying into the World Trade Center.

I remember turning to a colleague and stating, "We're at war."


I left burning with rage.

My son was a brand new ensign in the Navy, he had been commissioned that very spring. My oldest daughter was beginning her first year in Navy ROTC, her youngest sister vowed to be right behind her.

War.

Many of us at work put together some simple reminder of that day. Most of them copied off of the internet and displayed on cubicles throughout the building.

Mine was a simple silhouette of the Twin Towers, an outline of the Pentagon in the front and behind all that, a keystone. Someone asked me what the keystone was for...

"It represents Pennsylvania, the Keystone State."

Commemorating those who gave their lives in a field in Pennsylvania when they seized control of their hijacked aircraft, the one bound for the White House.

So many memorials. So long ago.

I cannot forget. I cannot forgive.

Out of the ashes of the World Trade Center, a phoenix arose...

Steel from the World Trade Center, about to be reborn.
(US Navy Photo by Photographer's Mate 2nd Class George Trian)

Shortly after 11 September 2001, Governor of New York George E. Pataki wrote a letter to Secretary of the Navy Gordon R. England requesting that the navy bestow the name "New York" on a surface warship involved in the War on Terrorism in honor of the victims of the September 11 attacks. Wikipedia

The Secretary of the Navy agreed, thus was born USS NEW YORK, LPD 21. A warship designed to carry the fight to the enemy with her embarked landing force of 699 Marines (66 officers and 633 enlisted) and her ship's company of 28 officers and 332 enlisted sailors.

USS NEW YORK in the Hudson River (Source)

(Sept. 8, 2011) Crew members aboard the amphibious transport dock ship USS New York (LPD 21) man the rails and present honors while passing The World Trade Center and the National September 11 Memorial and Museum as the ship arrives in Manhattan. The crew of New York will participate in numerous events throughout the city honoring the victims and responders from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Aboard are family members of victims and first responders from 9/11, along with the crew and Marines assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment. New York was built with 7.5 tons of steel recovered from Ground Zero. New York is scheduled to be pierside in Manhattan Sept. 8-9 and will anchor in the Hudson River Sept. 10-12. On Sept. 11, New York will transit from its anchorage in the Hudson River to a location within sight of the World Trade Center. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Randall A. Clinton)

USS NEW YORK, Ship's Crest

There is a great deal of symbolism in NEW YORK's crest. Note especially the phoenix, rising from the flames, in the background, the Twin Towers. "Never Forget."

On 9 September 2004 Secretary England announced that two of New York's sister ships will be named Arlington and Somerset in commemoration of the places where two of the other planes used in the attack came down: Arlington County, Virginia, and Somerset County, Pennsylvania. Wikipedia

USS ARLINGTON (LPD 24) (Source)

USS ARLINGTON, Ship's Crest

Again note the symbolism in the design, the Pentagon is shown. The side which was hit on 9-11 is in red.

SAN DIEGO (April 21, 2014) The amphibious transport dock ship USS Somerset (LPD 25) passes Naval Air Station North Island as it makes it way to its new homeport at Naval Base San Diego. The ninth San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship, Somerset is named in honor of the crew and passengers of United Airlines Flight 93 , which crashed near Shanksville, Pa., in Somerset County during the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. (U.S. Navy photo by Senior Chief Mass Communication Specialist Donnie W. Ryan)
USS SOMERSET, Ship's Crest

Note the keystone at the top, symbolizing the state of Pennsylvania. The eagle in flight over the field where the passengers and crew of Flight 93 paid the ultimate price for freedom.

Say what you will, think what you must but I will never forget that day. Nor shall I forget the many brave men and women who have given their lives in this fight.

And, God forgive me, I cannot, I will not forgive.

Ever.

7 comments:

  1. You are not alone. I will never forget nor forgive.

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  2. Never forget, indeed. There are many who will not, but I fear they are far outnumbered by those who would condemn us to a lifetime of September 11ths - a nightmarish 'Groundhog Day' - not because they will never forget, but because they refuse to remember.

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  3. Nor will I forget or forgive those who have thrown away the sacrifices of our military for their own political gain.

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  4. I remember the 11th of September, 2001 like it was yesterday.

    The date is a generation's "Where were you when JFK was shot?" moment. I remember the day with crystal-like clarity, as well, but won't go into any long, drawn out stories about where I was or what I was doing... suffice to say it was a VERY long day, even though I was on the opposite coast.

    Today's post is very well done and your words are very well said. "Never forget," indeed.

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  5. I will not forget those we lost or those who have sacrificed to protect us. Beautifully written.

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  6. Question, not a critique, for my Friends in the Naval Services. If the USS New York were to have been an aircraft, the flag in the picture would be backwards. The Union would be towards the Bow as it would be if flying from a Mast/Staff in the breeze. Is there a different tradition here?

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Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)