Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘pilgrims’

This is the final piece in a five-part series, recalling, from a personal perspective, the days of September 2001 and following.

Continued from Part IV, “Faruq“.

– – –

It was two or three weeks later, maybe more, that I was again listening to National Public Radio on the way home from work. The news was still dominated by the tragedy and what was probably coming next. By this time, the stories were beginning to drill down to the second and third levels – some of the secondary events and background personalities that were beginning to surface. It was then that I heard a report that began with something like, “And now for another story of several individuals the FBI is continuing to try to locate . . .”

They named him precisely.

And it went from there: A pilot based in Nashville . . . disappeared days after the attacks . . . . no trace . . . one of many suspects . . . unaccounted for . . . wanted for questioning . . . the 20th hijacker . . . others not yet identified . . . . . . and on and on.

Man-Silhouette

If there were ever a time when I actually did need to pull my car off to the side of the road, this was it. The problem was, I was sitting in a left turn lane in afternoon rush hour traffic, waiting my turn to get on the highway. There was nowhere I could go. But I felt like I had to go somewhere. I had a rush of emotion, of confusion, of fury. Just like that very day, again I was stunned. But this time there was a new feeling that hit me. I felt betrayed. He talked to me about what now seemed to be this very thing. I was the one he talked to. Me. It was nearly as powerful for me as everything that had happen on September 11th.

The FBI Special Agent-in-Charge who came to Jeppesen to interview me turned out to be a friend and former colleague of mine. In the first year I lived in Denver and while I attended graduate school, I worked an assignment (I was an Air Force Reserve intelligence officer) for the FBI as an intelligence analyst with the Metro Gang Task Force, doing our small part to combat the drug war as it came into the Denver suburbs from California and Mexico. “Carl” was now working in a different division, still in the Denver office, but had clearly performed well and had built on his already high reputation. He was now in white-collar crime but was asked to head up the Denver-area investigation in this global terrorism case. We had not seen each other since the spring of 1995 and it was a bittersweet reunion.

fbi_logo

Because I had an active security clearance, he and I were eventually able to discuss things on a level that others in my position could not. That I happened to be in sales at Jeppesen, knew “Carl”, and had a clearance was altogether coincidental but fortuitous. It was agreed that I would, for a few days, be off my normal sales work at Jeppesen and would put my analyst skills to work on reviewing records, conducting link-analysis and try to come up with some useful conclusions with the advantages of both my previous experience and my knowledge and understanding of Jeppesen database tools. This was a brief task, and investigators moved on quickly; it appeared as though nothing really developed from those efforts. I’ll never know.

In the end, Faruq was deemed to be by all accounts innocent.

As far as the Authorities could determine, he was as so many during those terrible, tragic, and chaotic days. It looked bad for him, but apparently, he was simply just in the wrong place at the wrong time. It was reported many weeks later and repeatedly in a type of “where are they now?” report that spanned the national new media outlets in various versions. In all likelihood, he did what many did – he fled the country as fast as he could, not wanting to take a chance at getting caught up in something he was not part of in the first place. I do not know how he did it.

As for me, I have to admit I still harbor my doubts about him.

It was all too close as far as I was concerned, too coincidental to be unrelated. I remain uncertain either way now, and cannot quite say exactly what I believe is true about him. But he is gone now, by all accounts, and that day is past. But not ever completely.

– – –

In these intervening years I have realized I am quite alone it seems, in my perspective on the term “9-11.” This realization was furthered this week when my wife and I watched a wonderfully produced and powerful special program by Fox News, Freedom Rising that attempts to encompass September 11th in its entirety, its centerpiece being the rebuilding in New York.

There are many names now, including the “9/11 Foundation” and the “9/11 Memorial”. The general reference “9/11” has been commonly adopted and is essentially universal.

1WTC_Viewfrom8SpruceStreet_Medium

So, these years later I find myself not quite as committed in my rejection of the term; perhaps even a bit more accepting of it. What results for me is the awareness of a slight sense of disappointment in myself because of it. I know that so much of that is – and was – driven by how I felt at the time, and for the most part, I have not changed in that regard.

It is clear that our feelings – emotions – while incredibly important and so should be given due respect and attention, are real and important, but they must not drive our judgment or decisions. Reality and responsibility must dictate those, regardless of our ever-changing feelings.

The truth remains, and duty remains, regardless of how we feel or what we think.

And so they do, even these eternal years after.

– – –

On May 10th, 2013, the final component to the One World Trade Center spire was placed, and at a height of exactly 1,776 feet, made it the tallest structure in the western hemisphere. Here is a video of that historic event.

World Trade Center

The United States of America has always been about new beginnings – starting over, trying again, creating, building up, and going on. It has been a central part of the fabric of our nation. Every one of us has wanted it or perhaps needed to do that at some point in our lives. Certainly I have.

Each of us individually makes up that fabric. But not just us, but all those who came before us; from those family and friends we know now, who have come here to join us during our own lifetime, to our ancestors who forsook Leiden in the 17th century to embark on a most hazardous journey and yet one full of promise.

Promise – fully the reason they came here. The promise of a new future.

– – –

You may select this link to read the original piece, September 11th, published in September 2009.

More reading about One World Trade Center, here.

You may find information about the National 9/11 Memorial and Museum here.

f93-logo

You may read about the National Park Service Flight 93 Memorial site here, and support here.

You may read about the official Pentagon 9/11 Memorial here, and support here.

080904-N-5319A-008

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Audrey Williams

Humanitarian. Pianist. Cellist. Teacher. Music Creator. Engineer

WanderLust

Notes from a Global Nomad

wthhistory

The Rise and Decline of a Small Town

Art Out The Wazoo

"There is no art without contemplation." - Robert Henri

Southern Indiana Agitator

Jeffersonville's Kelley Curran on politics, the media and more

Featherheart's Weblog

a place of poetry and photography

The Deep Friar

Digging a hole. And filling it up again.

Shannon A Thompson

You need the world, and the world needs good people.

Prego and the Loon

Pregnant and Dealing With Domestic Violence

Double Agent

The website of Steve Robert Simmons offering selected writings and personal essays. [Painting: "The Winding Road" by T. C. Steele (1907)]

%d bloggers like this: