was two years ago today (Sept. 11) that I watched as the events
at the World Trade Center unfolded. I was at work when the
first reports started circulating that a plane had hit one
of the towers. I remember thinking that this could not have
been an accident. Then the second plane hit, and it was clear
that this was an intentional act. Someone hooked up a TV in
the office and workers began to gather around.
It was a bright, clear day and the billowing smoke and debris
drifted across millions of TV screens that morning. The image
of the burning towers soon circulated the planet, as news
reports shot across satellite feeds and internet connections.
The images were hard to believe. The second plane hitting
the tower was replayed repeatedly and live cameras showed
people jumping from the flaming buildings.
I had a doctorís appointment that morning to get a leg injury
Iíd suffered during a softball game checked out. In the corner
of the waiting room was another TV displaying the burning
towers accompanied by speculative commentary. There wasnít
a pair of eyes in that room that werenít glued to the images
of the event unfolding. There was a hushed quiet in the room.
Then it happened. The first tower fell, imploding rapidly
to the ground in a massive dust cloud that spread out through
the streets. Then the second collapsed like the first, spreading
a wave of gray dust that engulfed everything in its path.
It was reported that other planes were hijacked and the Pentagon
was hit. Thousands were presumed dead.
What followed this dramatic display of disregard for human
life was an amazing outpouring of grief and solidarity by
people from around the world. Millions lit candles and gathered
in demonstrations of support and condolence. Temporary memorials
sprouted up around the world as masses of people gathered
in disbelief at the terror that had befallen this country.
There was an honesty and a sincerity in these acts of support
that was truly overwhelming. The Internet and international
news coverage were soon aglow with images and statements of
solidarity with the tribulations faced by this country.
While I had certainly never witnessed in my life anything
like the terrorist attack that occurred that day, I had also
never witnessed the kind of outpouring of support that followed.
While I saw the attack as a display of the worst in our species,
the worldwide displays of solidarity that continued to stream
in afterward seemed to show the best in us. As the debris
of the World Trade Center smoldered and burned, there was
a growing radiance of candlelight that seemed to pierce the
darkness that then seemed so thick. The simple act of lighting
a candle seemed to shed such meaningful light. In my lifetime,
I had never witnessed such an expression of goodwill toward
this country or, for that matter, toward New York City. It
was unfortunate that it had to follow such a dark criminal
Two years later much has changed. In just 24 months, George
W. and his administration have managed to squander the vast
amount of worldwide goodwill that had accrued following that
Itís been subsequently revealed that the government had received
clear forewarnings of the attack and had taken no action.
These forewarnings included a briefing given to George W.
on Aug. 6, 2001 that such a terrorist plan was in the works.
No one has been held accountable for the failures that allowed
this terrible act to occur, and this administration seems
to have gone out of its way to prevent a thorough investigationóreducing
our rights to find the truth.
It was recently revealed that assurances by the EPA that the
air in the area was safe shortly after the attack were not
true. George W.ís decision was that the people should be lied
to about the air quality for national security purposes. No
one has provided an explanation for how it could be a threat
to national security to tell people the truth about the quality
of the air they breathe. Ironically, the environmental policies
now being pursued by this administration are trying to worsen
the air we all breathe.
The Bush administration worked with the United Nations to
eradicate terrorists from Afghanistan, but the new government
there can only claim a semblance of control over the capital.
Opium-growing warlords have reclaimed the countryside, resuming
their export of drugs to the world and building their personal
When the U.N. didnít buy George W.ís lies about weapons of
mass destruction in Iraq and refused to join the battle, George
W. decided to go it alone. The U.S. Department of Defense
led the charge into a quagmire of a war that is currently
eroding the U.S. economy while ensuring a continuous flow
of body bags home. Ironically, the world that came out in
such support for this country following Sept. 11, came out
by the millions to protest George W.ís war in Iraq. All that
goodwill garnered following Sept. 11 evaporated as bombs exploded
With all the death, destruction and loss that has transpired
since Sept. 11, I find it hard to believe that the American
people have not demanded that this administration come clean
with the truth. With all the damage George W.ís done to this
country, I find it amazing that no impeachment proceedings
have been initiated. In comparison to President Clintonís
lie regarding a sexual act, the lies of George W. have been
far more profound in effect.
I hope that we can all take some time around this anniversary
to remember those who died on Sept. 11 and the pain of those
they left behind. I will be lighting a candle of hope not
just for those lost, but for those of us who remain, for peace,
and the truths that still must come to light.