Reflections on 9/11 Fifteen Years Later

by RUTH KING September 10, 2016

On Tuesday, September 11,2001 my husband and I were in Europe, scheduled to return on the 14th. All flights to New York were canceled and we remained in England glued to any televisions we could find in any public rooms until September 16 when we boarded a Virgin Air flight to New York.

Half way across the Atlantic the captain informed us that there was a serious and credible threat to our airplane, and that we would be flying at high speed and lowered altitude to an undesignated airport. There were no further communications until two harrowing hours later when we landed in Goose Bay, Labrador, formerly a Strategic Air Command base, and now a NATO support base that houses the Canadian, British, Dutch, German and Italian Air Forces.

The base was on high alert and we were all relegated to a section of The Canadian Air Force Officers' housing where we were given food and rooms for the night while our luggage and the plane were searched.

The next morning the Captain and his crew assembled our group and told the 200 passengers that a note had been found in a "quarantined" boarding room inaccessible to all but the passengers that warned of a bomb on our plane. That evening we arrived in a ghostlike Kennedy Airport with security personnel observant and armed.

The captain and crew bid us farewell with the observation: "Well we are safe now but the atrocities in American have changed everything and we can't be too cautious."

Three days later President Bush addressed Congress with the best and most inspiring speech of his career. The audience was spellbound except for Senator Hillary Clinton of New York whose behavior was abominable. As Michelle Malkin noted that week:

 "At a time when even the most partisan of her Democratic colleagues stood united with the president, NY Sen. Clinton shunned patriotism for petulance. She grimaced. She sighed. She rolled her eyes. She fidgeted like a five-year-old at an opera. And when Mrs. Clinton mustered enough energy to clap, she acted as if there were razor blades strapped to her palms. "

Then Mayor Giuliani guided and reassured New Yorkers in an exemplary way, as the city struggled to regain its footing.

Terrorism was not new to me at all. I remembered a series of terrorist acts against America- the 1983 bombing at a Marine compound in Beirut, Lebanon that killed 241 U.S. service personnel; the 1998 United States embassy bombings on August 7, 1998, in which over 200 people were killed in nearly simultaneous truck bomb explosions in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi Kenya; the S.S. Cole on 12 October 2000.

 I knew parents of young victims of Pan Am Flight 103 from Frankfurt to Detroit via London and New York which was downed by a bomb on December 21, December 1988 over Lockerbie, England killing 243 passengers and 16 crew, and 11 more people on the ground.

I was sadly familiar with a concatenation of terrorist massacres in Israel since its founding. Babies in cribs, the elderly in hospitals, shoppers in markets, women with children in cafes, students in schools- civilians in every aspect of diurnal life were cut down by women and men in suicide vests. Some of the worst terrorism was perpetrated in Israel after the Oslo agreement that gratified the demands of and legitimated Arafat and his murderous minions.

But all the foregoing was "there" and on 9/11 it was "here" and the international enemy had a name and a faith and a stated goal. In a strange way my relief and anger turned to hope.

I was confident in our determination to defeat global jihad. I was certain that all victim nations would unite in a common front, setting politics and grudges aside. I predicted that all "root cause" can't would be dismissed. I was virtually certain that Israel, located in the belly of the Jihadist beast would gain understanding in its responses to brutal attacks.

And yet, only six months later in April 2002, President Bush- he of the inspiring address of September 20- invited the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia - the locus of seventeen 9/11 terrorists to a down home barbecue at his ranch in Crawford and the robed tyrant put forth his "initiative" for Mideast peace." The President gushed to the assemble press:" Good afternoon. I was honored to welcome Crown Prince Abdallah to my ranch, a place that is very special for me, and a place where I welcome special guests to our country." Special indeed.

For the rest of his term the President did not use terms other than "the religion of peace" which was "hijacked" by meanies who are the "enemies of peace."

His generals applied rules of engagement that respected the mores of barbarians above the security needs of our troops.

 That was the beginning of the appeasement of Radical Islam and Jihad that was followed by more threats and brutal attacks throughout the West and within our borders. And Israel, the only nation that has battled and confronted terrorist carnage with war and deterrence is routinely castigated for "disproportionate" responses.

Now President Obama has elevated that appeasement to an art form.

So, fifteen years later, have things really changed? Are we more cautious or far more concerned with political correctness and concerns for the sensibilities of potential enemies rather than our security? I fear it is the latter.

Ruth King, editorial board member of Family Security Foundation, Inc., is a freelance writer. She has written a book and articles on gardening, and also writes a monthly column in OUTPOST, the publication of Americans for a Safe Israel.

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