THE SONIC BOOMER
There has been much somber remembering going on this week due to the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
We are still suffering the residual effects of the tragedy by being forced to wait in long lines to take off our shoes at airports. Admittedly, that is not as much of a problem in the Flip-Flop State as it is in say, Alaska. (“Do you know how long it took me to lace up these mukluks?” “I’m sorry, sir. They have to come off. And please stop shaking that reindeer poo onto our carpeting.”)
9/11 was so horrifying that it overshadowed everything else that happened that year. For instance, does anyone remember the top news story on Sept. 10, 2001?
I do! On Sept. 10, the top story was about a lawsuit brought by the parents of a little girl dangerously exposed to peanut butter in the school cafeteria. With the new emphasis on peanut allergies, airlines immediately had to toss out thousands of bags of peanuts and switch to pretzels. The economic woes of those poor airlines!
My first reaction when I heard the peanut story was not “Wow! I hope the little girl is OK,” but rather, “Things are going really well in this country if our big headline is about peanut butter.”
That is the kind of comment that, even though never voiced, guarantees doom. So you can see where I feel partially responsible for 9/11. I’ve never spoken about it until now; that’s how bad I feel. I should have been happy that peanut allergies were all we had to worry about.
The thing that really unnerved me about 9/11 was the Pentagon. I was on my into work when my boss told me about it. I had felt reasonably safe until then. I mean, New York is an obvious target as a center of world commerce. I could even understand the political statement of wanting to take out the White House. The chances of a plane bearing down on Wellington seemed small. But to successfully fly a plane into the Pentagon?
I mean, as an American, I had always thought of the Pentagon as our most impenetrable structure. I figured it was probably surrounded by force fields, even if those force fields were comprised of squadrons of military jets. Plus, I had wrongly assumed that protecting the Pentagon would be pretty high up on our nation’s priority list. So, if our military didn’t protect that, what hope was there that they would ever protect little ol’ me? I suddenly felt unsafe. Surely the retirement communities of South Florida were next.
Since that day, we have learned that communication errors, new employees and sheer disbelief slowed our response. Steps have been taken to correct those things. But, on that day, it was an eye-opener. I had had more faith in our government than that. It was like finding out that there may be no tooth fairy.
What’s that you say? Please… let’s not shatter the little bit of faith I have left.