Highlands Ranch Area Cycling Road Cycling Colorado Streech Greg Streech Gregory

Monday, September 11, 2006

September 11

Five years ago today I sat stunned in front of my television for what must have been 18 hours.  I tried to go to the office at one point but when the first tower fell, I turned around and went home. 

The images were more intense then I had ever seen.  I kept thinking, “How did the building fall down?”  I have spent thousands of hours working with engineers and architects to design buildings.  They aren’t supposed to fall down.  Yeah I know, thousands of gallons of burning jet fuel, intense heat blah, blah, blah.  I still wonder whether the 343 fire fighters and policemen that entered the burning Towers thought the buildings would really fall down.

Somehow the act of killing 3,000 people wasn’t horrific enough.  The killers needed them to wait for their death; plane hits and takes a couple hours to melt the buildings to the point of breaking.  Imagine what it might be like to be on a high floor with no way out.  Imagine that your high-speed access and your cell phone still work.  You have an hour to wait until you will unquestionably die.  As we know from the images, some couldn’t wait and jumped.

The hatred that it takes to pull off this sort of attack is, for me, unimaginable.  Sure, we all get mad and can lash out.  But how do you maintain the level of hatred for the several months (years?) it takes to pull off this sort of attack?  I can’t get my mind around this.

By way of comparison, September 11th is not December 7th.  On December 7th, Japan pulled off a military attack rather than a terrorist attack.  I think the distinction is clear.  September 11th is unique in its level of hatred.

The world would like to tell Americans that we need to be more aware of our image overseas.  I am not sure how we can change the minds of people who see only what they want to see.  When you explain our freedoms to foreigners, they can only see the excesses and unfairness.

How much has changed in five years?  Not much other than an increase in the fear mongering on the television.  We are still free to ride our bikes.  We are still free to make the money that buys the bikes.  I hope that September 11th continues to be a day of reflection on what it is to be free.




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