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Letter to the Editor

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The Sept. 11, 2001 American tragedy that shook the nation to its core and changed our course forever is still felt even after 17 years; for many, healing has never taken place and every year the hurt is relived on this Day of Infamy. The question of why and how this happened has been pinned on terrorists from the very beginning with the information televised by the national media although other questions have remained unanswered.

When the hijacked airplanes were flown into the World Trade Center Twin Towers, it was stated that 15 of the 19 were citizens of Saudi Arabia with two from United Arab Emirates and two from Egypt and Lebanon. All 19 were men affiliated with al-Qaeda, an international terrorist organization. Saudi Arabia remains a Middle Eastern ally of America and was a key part in the subsequent invasion of Iraq, a war that lasted from March 20, 2003 to Dec.18, 2011.

The day of the attacks also included another plane, United Airlines Flight 93, that was hijacked and brought down in a (Shanksville) Pennsylvania countryside by passengers who responded to the now famous creed “Let’s roll!”

There is no official indication that any of the passengers were able to break into the cockpit but they definitely frustrated the plans of the terrorists.

Meanwhile, in the chaos that was created by the Twin Tower attacks, another building — World Trade Center 7, north of the Twin Towers — also came down. A National Institute of Standards and Technology report cited the collapse was because of fires fueled by office furnishings and that it did not collapse from explosives or from diesel fuel fires. No plane struck the 47-story structure the Secret Service and the Central Intelligence Agency were based in.

Many people of all nationalities survived the suicide attacks, both from escaping the Towers and in the surrounding impact areas; the survivors described themselves as blessed and fortunate with some even participating in the subsequent rescue efforts. The scene was apocalyptic with pure destruction likened to a war zone with the two icons gone and debris everywhere amid the lamentation of people.

Hospitals were overflowing and medical supplies immediately depleted coupled with heroic first responders bringing in more victims by the minute. Ground Zero was two huge holes in a city that was mortally wounded with highways into New York City closed. President George W. Bush learned of the attacks while he was at the Emma E. Booker Elementary School in Sarasota, Fla., reading to a class of second graders.

I had just taken my lunch break and was driving to a nearby fast food joint when the news came on the radio. My first concern was for my younger brother who lives in Ithaca, NY, which is quite a distance from New York. He is still safe. In all my travels throughout America, I have not yet visited New York City but when I do, the 911 Memorial Site will definitely be a stop where I shall pay my respects to those who took their final Spirit Journey on that fateful day of Sept.11, 2001.

Mervyn Tilden

Gallup, New Mexico