9/11, 18 years later; Feelings, facts...no fear
With the anniversary of 9/11,
it’s time to take stock, 18
years after the worst attack
on American soil — worse than Pearl
Harbor. Eighteen years after the worst
terrorist attack in our history.
While not everyone in so-called Generation
Z might remember the World
Trade Center attack, the rest of us will
never forget it: The horrifi c events, feelings,
sights, sounds and smells of that
day and its aftermath will stay with us
forever. The victims’ family members,
of course, feel the pain the most of all.
More than 2,600 people perished
in the World Trade Center and its surroundings.
Certain fi rms located in the
Twin Towers were completely decimated.
Cantor Fitzgerald lost 658 employees;
Marsh & McClellan, 358. The Fire
Department lost 343 members bravely
responding to the disaster.
According to a 2018 report by the
World Trade Center Health Program,
2,000 deaths of fi rst responders — who
worked on “The Pile” — have been attributed
to 9/11-related illnesses.
Lower Manhattan was plunged into
the depths and darkness of despair by
this evil attack by Islamic terrorists.
But, with typical New York resiliency
and guts, the district has been miraculously
rebuilt and is again thriving.
Just as we remember the shock, bewilderment
and tragedy of 9/11, we also
recall how, as a city, we came together
in the midst of adversity to emerge even
stronger than before.
Major thanks are due Congressmember
Carolyn Maloney and Jon Stewart
for recently pushing through the Never
Forget the Heroes: James Zadroga, Ray
Pfeifer and Luis Alvarez Permanent
Authorization of the September 11th
Victim Compensation Fund Act, which
will ensure that the attack’s victims, as
well as family members of the deceased,
will continue to be compensated.
Of course a massive debt of gratitude
is owed to law enforcement — at all
levels — for having kept us largely safe
from terrorist attacks since 9/11.
Sadly, there have been a few lonewolf
style incidents since the W.T.C.
attack. On Sept. 17, 2016, a pressurecooker
bomb — loaded with ball
bearings and steel nuts and left by a
terrorist — detonated on W. 23rd St.
between Sixth and Seventh Aves. More
than two-dozen people were injured.
Thankfully, there were no fatalities.
The terrorist — inspired by ISIS and
Al-Qaeda — left a second bomb nearby
on W. 27th St., but a local resident reported
it, and it was rendered safe and
later detonated out of harm’s way.
A far-worse incident occurred on
Halloween two years ago, when an
ISIS-inspired terrorist drove a truck
onto the Hudson River bike path at
Afghanistan, many would say, was warranted,
since this was the country that
harbored Osama bin Laden, the plot’s
mastermind and fi nancer. Our going
into Iraq, however, was obviously not
justifi ed based on the 9/11 attacks, but
was a case of planned regime change
against a regional danger — which also
had oil we coveted. Although Saddam
was deposed, the region was, in fact,
left destabilized, leading to the refugee
crisis that we are seeing today.
Meanwhile, more than 4,500 U.S.
troops have been killed in Iraq and
nearly 2,500 in Afghanistan. Hundreds
of thousands of Iraqis are believed to
have been killed due to the fi ghting and
the general destruction of their country.
And though Saddam was toppled,
his generals went on to form ISIS.
In short, while the 18th anniversary
of 9/11 was a solemn day of remembrance,
there is also a lot to celebrate
about how we have bounced back,
stronger than ever, as a city. At the
same time, we can’t drop our guard:
The bad guys are not giving up.
So, we mourn the victims and remember
and thank the heroes. We celebrate
our recovery and we keep moving
forward. We remain vigilant and
we vow: Never again.
PHOTO BY RENA COHEN
Houston St. and, speeding southward,
mowed down eight cyclists and runners,
most of them tourists. A combination
of concrete blocks and steel bollards
have been added to the popular
path to protect it from future attacks.
Over all, though, we know there are
people out there who want to hurt us.
Luckily, we have the best law-enforcement
in the world on our side, watching
our back. Yes, admittedly, we’re in an
era when police are under scrutiny for
the behavior of a few bad actors.
Most police are just trying to do a
good job and want to help our communities.
And those in law enforcement
protecting our city from terrorism are
doing a tremendous, if unsung, job.
There’s now also, understandably, a
lot of discussion about whether “white
guys with AR-15s” are the real terrorist
threat to our nation, even worse than
radical religious terrorists. There’s no
question that domestic terrorism has
become an epidemic, one enabled by
these semiautomatic killing machines.
More stringent background checks are
a must to keep them out of the hands of
mentally ill and troubled individuals.
Turning abroad, after 9/11, we waged
war in both Afghanistan and Iraq. The
attack on the fundamentalist Taliban in
The June 10, 1982, issue of The Villager included this photo, showing
remnants of the old West Side Elevated Highway. The viaduct had closed in
1973, the same year as the opening of the new World Trade Center, seen in
the background, at left. The old highway was fully dismantled by 1989. It
was replaced about 10 years later at street level by Route 9A. The steel arch
seen in the photo was at West and Canal Sts.
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12 September 19, 2019 TVG Schneps Media