By: Joe Mauricio
It is seared into memory, that bright blue Tuesday seventeen years ago, when hijackers did the unimaginable, crashing into the Trade World Center. America’s heart shattered the day the Twin Towers fell, taking with them 2,600 lives.
Today, the site is surprisingly serene. Waterfalls burble where the Towers once stood. The Freedom Tower nearby glistens in the sun. Inside, its long spine of skylight echoes the Twin Towers.
Few visitors dab their eyes, many take pictures, share the awe or try to explain the what rather than the why.
It was like Pearl Harbor. It was on this day in 2001 that I remember the unthinkable act of hatred. Like the attack on Pearl Harbor, only you didn’t know who the enemy was.
The day that will live in Infamy needs no further elucidation almost 60 years after the Japanese’s sneak attack on the U.S. forces in Hawaii.
“Remember Pearl Harbor” became a mantra to ensure that an act of treachery would not catch us by surprise again.
Now there is a more insidious evil that threatens civilization, a black day to try and explain to our grandchildren. It’s hard to know what to say to them when they view, over and over, the videotape of New York City looking like Pompeii after Vesuvius erupted.
No, this is not exactly Pearl Harbor, where there was a clear course of action and rules of engagement to follow. But it is comforting to remember that Pearl Harbor did not turn out as our enemies at the time intended. It did not bring down America or break its spirit.
Instead, it was one of the most unifying events in our history. It galvanized the nation to protect the freedoms it was created to enjoy.
Today, we ache for those killed by terrorists seventeen years ago.
Some will pause at 9:59 A.M., when the first Tower fell, and 10:28 A.M., as the second Tower collapsed, to remember that haunting day.
“That was a lesson for terrorists who think that human bombs and human plots can undermine a free people.” JOE MAURICIO