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20 years

September 11, 2021

And I could still grind my teeth into powder in anger. I was headed into work at Balboa Navy Hospital when I got the call from my (then) wife. I ran to the OR in time to begin the standard military speculation, only to watch the second tower be hit. Then came the collapses. The first wave of “terrorist” speculation had already begun before anyone claimed responsibility.

We rushed through the day’s load of blessedly few surgeries. Word came down from the Admiral. We were secured for the day. Go home. Ensure your teabags are packed and ready to go. Update your wills and other documents.

By the time I left Balboa civilian flights were long since grounded. Since the hospital is on a major approach for the San Diego airport, it was weird seeing the skies empty. Driving home on the 15 was eerie. I did not see another vehicle between the hospital and Poway.

When all was said and done, thousands of my fellow citizens were gone, their lives snuffed out by fanatics who were aided and abetted by a repressive government. Casus belli if ever there was one.

I hope we learned some vital lessons from that day and its aftermath. I fear we have not.

Feel free to share your thoughts and memories.

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2 Comments
  1. Gregory K. Taggart permalink

    A few thoughts:

    1) The entire world is full of cockroaches.
    Better to fight them down the street rather than in your home.

    2) COL Rick Rescorla died that day doing his duty as he led several evacuations of Morgan Stanley employees. Each time he led his charges to safety, he returned to climb the stairs to get more. Numerous people had unsuccessfully tried to kill him over the years. The towers collapsed and accomplished what they could not do.

    COL Rescorla had written an academic paper predicting an attack such as occurred on THAT day. No one paid much attention.

    3) NYPD and FDNY responded with devotion and heroism to unthinkable chaos, literally responding to the maw of hell.

    4) A group of average people, businessmen, tourists, vacationers, fought back against overwhelming odds and refused to supinely allow their last moments to be used to advance evil.

    5) Who among our current crop of chest-thumping self-aggrandizing celebrities and anthem-kneeling millionaires and politicians would have climbed the stairs or fought for control of an airplane?

    6) Have we forgotten the heroes and the lessons?

    CPT Taggart

    • There is nothing you wrote with which I can do anything but agree, other than this: I fear that far too many have forgotten both what we hopefully learned and those from whom we learned it.

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