Tales of the Good Ship Dick ... And an ode to 9-11 PDF Print E-mail
AppEd - Opinions and Editorials - AppEd - Opinions and Editorials
Written by Richard Kerns   
Saturday, 10 September 2011 20:34

Having never been to New York City, I did not appreciate the size of the Twin Towers, so that when I joined a handful of other Times-News staffers clustered about the newsroom TV set that beautiful, terrible morning, I thought for all the world that the smoke billowing from the North Tower was caused by a plane no bigger than a Piper Cub. And I wondered how stupid someone could be to run into one of those buildings on such a clear day.

It was, in those final moments of the American age that passed with the Towers’ collapse, a moderately curious news event.

Until the second plane hit.

 I was watching when zoom lenses trained on the smoky spectacle caught the great gray airliner hurtling into view and exploding into the South Tower, so that in the instant it occurred, I knew we were at war.

 And in that moment, and forever more, I took unto me a part of that city, so that I could no longer hate the Yankees and would in days to come, hang upon my living room wall, together with photos of the kids and their grandparents, a magazine portrait of those two doomed towers in that other time gone by, the State of Liberty framed between them.

The guttural horror of that day, branded to memory and seared to soul, was in being witness to devastation and destruction unimaginable, carnage and death in real time. We were on the second floor just off Mechanic Street in Cumberland, Md., about as far removed as one can be from Manhattan skyscraper, yet I was with them, above and below in the hell of that inferno.

We all were. As Americans, and as fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, grandparents and friends, we held their hands and kissed their foreheads, drew them to us and held them close. And our tears flowed and our hearts broke, as the smoke rose and flames churned.

Screaming silently together, we reached in vain for the rewind button to that other world that greeted our day, before our very eyes now torn asunder and ripped forever from us.

No one knew their fate, even as cameras caught bodies falling from the sky. But it was a fire alive, not smoldering, but consuming. Flesh and bone, steel and concrete.

We let them go as the Towers collapsed. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.

I guessed the loss at 10,000, gone in an instant. Thanks to the brave men and women of the New York City Fire and Police Departments, which lost 466 of their brethren, the final toll would be 2,606. Counting the Pentagon attack, which unfolded in the same dizzying hour, 9-11 would ultimately claim 2,977 lives.

As the smoke billowed from the first Tower’s collapse, and dust-caked survivors struggled through streets and across bridges, I left the TV and went to work, writing an editorial for the next day’s paper. Like many others, it evoked the trauma and loss of Pearl Harbor – when 2,402 perished in that other day of infamy -- and the righteous anger, national unity and unwavering determination that followed.

I loathed the privileged son that was George W. Bush from the time he entered the national scene, but the next morning I told the managing editor that he was my president, and I was 100 percent behind him and wanted nothing more than for him to succeed in righting a grievous wrong. Within days, the Stars and Stripes flew from the back of my pickup, where it remained until it was in tatters.

Rumors swirled with abandon as morning turned to noon that dark day, with reports of one airliner down, and fears of more in the sky. No one was safe, everyone vulnerable.

Schools were in turmoil, parents pulling their kids en masse, in fear that any mass of Americans would be a target. After writing the editorial, I headed to Fort Hill High School for a story, and the principal advised amidst a fevered, fearful but orderly atmosphere, that parents were free to pick up their kids, no questions asked.

Those Fort Hill parents in particular had cause for concern. They were just way too late, as the deed, had it been done, would have happened an hour or more earlier.

For if the courageous few of Flight 93 had not risen when they did, 20 minutes before the airliner would be over Washington, if they had doubted or delayed but a minute or two, the vile fanatics at the helm may have seen upon the landscape not field and forest, but home and industry, the Queen City prostrate beneath them. Angling in from the northwest, sons of liberty tearing at the bolted cockpit door, the brick expanse of Memorial Hospital and Fort Hill High just beyond might have risen into view. Rather than rolling the plane over to self-immolation, they would have steered toward ridge-top brick and mortar, and hundreds of souls.

But the heroes of Flight 93 rolled just in time, sparing not only The Capitol, but all which lay between Shanksville, Pa. and Washington, D.C. Including Cumberland.

On the drive home that afternoon the world seemed still and unified, like Christmas Day turned upside down. In the days to come and many months to follow, I would catch a contrail 30,000 feet above the mountains of home, and offer a silent prayer and quick salute for fellow Americans on the wing.

That night, like so many other Moms and Dads, I hugged the Progeny Three extra tight. And did my best to explain the unexplainable of that day’s events, which did not go unnoticed by even the youngest children. I told them thousands of kids were being tucked into bed at that very hour, their mothers and fathers forever gone. They went to work and didn’t come back.

I used to run in the mornings back then, and in the days to follow Sept. 11, 2001 I felt an American breeze sweeping over the Mountain City, North to South and sea to sea. It was unity. Dearly purchased, and mightily harnessed to the national cause of righteous retribution. We were one.

Ten years on, a house divided teeters at the brink of economic collapse, and we reach out once more to that world long gone, when the United States of America, more than just financially sound, stood tall among the nations, rightfully claiming the moral high ground that freedom requires. We did not torture. We did not launch unjust wars of choice.

The attacks of Sept. 11 were not the nation’s downfall, rather our response to them.

This 10th anniversary, we mourn not only the victims of 9-11, but the America that died with them…

Last Updated on Saturday, 10 September 2011 20:37
Comments (2)
Susan Davis
Sunday, 11 September 2011 20:00
Beautifully said.....
Then there's the reality-based opinion--
Tuesday, 13 September 2011 17:01
In the US on September 11, 2011, the 10th anniversary of 9/11, politicians and their presstitute media presented Americans with "A Day of Remembrance," a propaganda exercise that hardened the 9/11 lies into dogma. Meanwhile, in Toronto, Canada, at Ryerson University the four-day International Hearings on the Events of September 11, 2001, came to a close at 5pm.

During the four days of hearings, distinguished scientists and scholars and professional architects and engineers presented the results of years of their independent research into all aspects of 9/11 to a distinguished panel consisting of the honorary president of the Italian Supreme Court who was an investigative judge who presided over terrorism cases and three distinguished scholars of high renown and judgment. The distinguished panel's task is to produce a report with their judgment of the evidence presented by the expert witnesses.

The Toronto Hearings were streamed live over the Internet. I was able to watch many of the presentations over the four days. I was impressed that the extremely high level of intelligence and scientific competence of the witnesses was matched by a high level of integrity, a quality rare in US politics and totally absent in the American media.

As I stressed in my recent interview about 9/11 with Jim Corbett and Global Research, I am a reporter, not an independent researcher into 9/11. I pay attention when the fact-based community finds problems with the official propaganda. Perhaps this reflects my age. My generation was raised to believe in evidence and the scientific method. George Orwell and other writers warned us of the consequence of succumbing to government propaganda as a result of disinterest in the truth or government manipulation of one's patriotism.

My ability to serve as a reporter of scientific evidence is enhanced by my having a Bachelor of Science from Georgia Tech, a Ph.D. from the University of Virginia, and post-graduate education at the University of California, Berkeley, and Oxford University, where my professor was the distinguished physical chemist and philosopher, Michael Polanyi. In the 1960s, I was appointed Visiting Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering, University of California, Berkeley, in order to provide together with Polanyi to the science students at Berkeley a course in Polanyi's unique contributions to knowledge. Polanyi's illness prevented the course from happening and condemned me to being a mere economist.

This does not mean that I am infallible or that my reporting is correct. If my reporting stimulates you, go to the presentations, which I believe will continue to be available online, and if not, some edited CD will be available. Try this.

As one whose own contributions to economics, now belatedly recognized, are "outside the box," I am responsive to those who can escape peer pressure in order to advance truth. Here are some of the important things I learned from the Toronto Hearings.

The NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology, a government agency) reports on the twin towers and building 7 are fraudulent. Witnesses at the Toronto Hearings proved that Building 7 was a standard controlled demolition and that incendiaries and explosives brought down the twin towers. There is no doubt whatsoever about this. Anyone who declares the contrary has no scientific basis upon which to stand. Those who defend the official story believe in miracles that defy the laws of physics.

A nano-chemist from the University of Copenhagen, who together with a scientific team spent 18 months investigating the chemical and physical properties of dust from the towers, found evidence of nano-termite in the dust and quantities of particles not naturally formed by office or normal building fires that indicate another explosive was also present.

These findings explain the extreme high temperatures that produced the molten steel for which indisputable evidence exists. In the orchestrated cover-up, NIST denies that molten steel is present as its presence is inconsistent with the low temperatures that NIST acknowledges building fires can produce.

Physicist David Chandler proved beyond all doubt that building 7 fell over its visible part (other buildings obscure the bottom floors) at free-fall speed, an unambiguous indication that explosives had removed all supporting columns simultaneously. There is no possibility whatsoever according to the laws of physics that Building 7 fell for the reasons NIST provides. The NIST account is a total denial of known laws of physics.

Many other powerful points were made at the conference that I will not report, at least not at this time, because the revelation of malevolence is so powerful that most readers will find it a challenge to their emotional and mental strength.

Psychologists explained that there are two kinds of authority to which people submit. One is to the authority of people in high positions in the government. The belief that "our government wouldn't lie to us" is pervasive, especially among patriots. The other source of authority is experts. However, to believe experts a person has to be educated and open-minded and to trust scientific, professional, and scholarly integrity.

In recent years in America, scientific and scholarly authority has come into disrepute among Christian evangelicals who object to evolution and among anti-intellectual Tea Party adherents who object to "elitists," that is, objection to knowledge-based persons whose knowledge does not support Tea Party emotions.

In other words, qualified, knowledgeable people who tell people what they do not want to hear are dismissed as "the enemy." Much of the American population is set up to believe government propaganda. Without an independent media, which the US no longer has, people are taught that only "conspiracy kooks" challenge the government's story. Even on the Internet, this is a main theme on Antiwar.com and on CounterPunch.org, two sites that protest America's wars but accept the 9/11 propaganda that justifies the wars.

This is the reason that I think that the US is moving into an era where the emotional needs of the population produced by government propaganda overwhelms science, evidence, and facts. It means the abolition of accountable government and the rule of law, because protection from terrorists is more important.

The fact-based world in which "we are not afraid to follow the truth wherever it may lead" is being displaced by dogma. Anyone who doubts "our government" is an anti-American, Muslim-loving, pinko-liberal commie, who should be arrested and waterboarded until the culprit confesses that he is a terrorist.

The event of 9/11 is now outside the realm of fact, science, and evidence. It is a dogma that justifies the Bush/Cheney/Obama war crimes against Muslims and their countries.

Obama regime appointee Cass Sunstein, a Chicago and Harvard Law School professor, thinks the 9/11 movement, for challenging the official "truth," should be infiltrated by US intelligence agents in order to shut down the fact-based doubters of government propaganda.

When a law professor at our two most prestigious law schools wants to suppress scientific evidence that challenges government veracity, we know that in America respect for truth is dead.

The notion that a country in which truth is dead is a "light unto the world" is an absurdity.

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts
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