September 11, 2001

This is a day that no one will ever forget. What we saw on television was so surreal that no Hollywood movie could come close. Reality far surpassed imagination. The images of all those people, the image of a jet airliner flying right into the World Trade Center, the image of the 110-floor towers collapsing, the mere thought that the Pentagon itself could be hit and 800 people die there, it is too much. In terms of sheer power, the footage of the Hindenburg falling from the sky and burning came to mind. But that was an act of God. This was an act of man.

This is really the unthinkable. And we don't even know yet how large the toll of lives is. It does make you wake up and think how lucky we are here in the United States of America, with generally not a worry. Or with worries that pale in significance compared to what we saw today.

Then there is the anger at who did this. It seems beyond imagination that human beings could do this. And it also seems beyond imagination that there should be people dancing in the streets and cheering gleefully at this horrible tragedy. Those little children cheering, what parents must they have? It is scary to see the burning hatred among some people against our nation. People who live half a world away. And sometimes amongst ourselves.

So what do we do with our anger? Anger that is borne of sorrow and will eventually be anger borne of shock and wounded pride that this could be done to us, to the United States of America on our own soil, by nameless, faceless killer cowards who live and breathe to hurt and maim and tear down and kill. Anger also out of frustration because our mighty jet fighters, aircraft carriers, cruise missiles and tanks are as useless against terrorism as a hammer is against a virus. And frustrated and disillusioned because our vaunted intelligence had no clue.

Then the discussions and arguments will start of what the role of our country should be in this world. And that is a loaded argument because there are many positions and each can be defended.

All that will come.

For tonight all I grapple with is the disbelief that I share this planet with people who can do deeds like what happened today, and people who teach their children to cheer when others burn and die. And I know that I will never forget those pictures we all saw today.

And it is sickening beyond belief to sit and contemplate how many thousands of husbands and wives, boyfriends and girlfriends, sons and daughters, mommies and daddies did not come home today. Will never come home again.

Conrad H. Blickenstorfer