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Everything about September 11, 2001, was unprecedented. That day witnessed, among other things, the largest maritime evacuation in history. More than half a million people stranded on Manhattan Island were taken off by boat in the course of eight hours. By comparison, at Dunkirk in late May of 1940, some 338,000 allied troops were evacuated across the English Channel over the course of nine days. There is a moving short film called Boatlift about this amazing and massive instance of spontaneous cooperative order amidst chaos and destruction, which I highly recommend.
I was part of that 9/11 boatlift. I’m pretty sure that I was on the first boat, among the first refugees from Lower Manhattan to cross the Hudson. I don’t want to use the word “survivors” because, at least in my case, my life was never really in danger. My story is completely devoid of heroism. But I did witness the events of that day from uncomfortably close range, and an anniversary seems as good an occasion as any to write it down, before the memories, which are still vivid, fade.
About 30 minutes south of Albuquerque, in a little place called Los Chavez in the Rio Grande Valley. We had a couple of acres with some cottonwood trees — and a lawn because we’d put in an irrigation system. (New Mexico gets about seven inches of rain a year.)
I was in the shower in the master bathroom when my wife (no longer with us) poked her head in the door. She said my younger sister Stephanie (also no longer with us) had called to say a plane had hit the World Trade Center. I told her, over the sound of the shower, that the building would be fine, that more than 50 years ago a B-25 bomber crashed into the Empire State Building, and that certainly the Twin Towers could handle what I assumed must be a small private plane.
Daughters not walked down the aisle by their Dad. Dads not having a daughter to walk down the aisle. Babies born without knowing Granddad, or Grandma. Children not being taught by Mom, or Dad, to tie their shoelaces, ride a bike, drive a car, shave. High school and college graduations not attended by aunts, uncles, […]
There are prayers that help us last through the day, or endure the night … that give us strength for the journey … that yield our will to a will greater than our own. This world He created is of moral design. Grief and tragedy and hatred are only for a time. Goodness, remembrance, and love have no end. And the Lord of life holds all who die, and all who mourn…
America is a nation full of good fortune…But we are not spared from suffering… On this national day of prayer and remembrance, we ask God Almighty to watch over our nation, and grant us patience and resolve in all that is to come. We pray that He will comfort and console those who now walk in sorrow. We thank Him for each life we now must mourn, and the promise of a life to come.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America are back from vacation. Before discussing the day’s martinis, they remember the horrific events of September 11, 2001 and why we must remember what happened that day. Then they welcome the news that Hillary Clinton will never run for office again and laugh as she blames the “godforsaken electoral college” among many other factors for her defeat last year. They also shake their heads as a tongue-in-cheek Facebook page encouraging people to “Shoot at Hurricane Irma” gets the media and even law enforcement very alarmed. And they sigh as the major networks once again send their reporters into fierce storms, somehow thinking we won’t believe there is a hurricane unless we see their people getting hammered by the rain and wind.
In the summer of 2017, I find myself writing occasional opinion pieces on politics and the Left. In the summer of 2014, I found myself standing on a hill in a remote area of Kentucky called Fluty Lick. In the summer of 2001, I found myself standing on Route 3 in New Jersey, looking at the Manhattan skyline. In the summer of 1995, I found myself reading a minor news article about Afghanistan. In the summer of 1980, I found myself in the company of a genuine southern belle.
On September 11, 2001 I was living in Manhattan, in the neighborhood called Battery Park City. It’s not really one of the well known neighborhoods like Midtown, or Harlem, or the Upper West Side. But on that day, it got a new name that is much better known… Ground Zero.
At that time, Battery Park City consisted of 8 high rise apartment buildings that were wrapped around the World Financial Center (WFC), directly across West Street from the World Trade Center (WTC) complex. The buildings were split evenly to the north and south of WFC, and contained about 10,000 people. I lived in the less fashionable northern half, on the 26th floor of a 42 story building, right next to Stuyvesant High School, one of the elite, limited entry public schools in the NYC area. It was a corner apartment, specifically the south east corner, with floor to ceiling windows running around the entire apartment, with the exception of the bedroom.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America applaud Congress for overturning an Obama veto by huge margins and allowing 9/11 families to sue Saudi Arabia. They also sigh as Fox News is forced to tell their hosts that online polls about who won Monday’s debate are not the same as a scientific poll. And they wonder what Gary Johnson is smoking as he fails to name a single leader he respects. Actually, we’re pretty sure we know what he’s smoking.
Welcome to the Harvard Lunch Club Podcast — the (Basket Full of) Deplorables edition – with nanophycisist Mike Stopa and radio talk host Todd Feinburg. Our topics:
- Hillary engages in deplorable hate speech, calling half of Trump supporters “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic, you name it.” Is this a campaign killer?
- Trigger warnings and reaction to the University of Chicago’s War on Triggers.
- Hillary collapsed Sept. 11, but didn’t hit the ground when she was caught by members of her Secret Service detail.
Find us online at harvardlunchclub.com, on Twitter @HLCpodcast, and at Ricochet.com as part of the Ricochet family of podcasts.
On the morning of September 11th, 2001, my wife and I were talking with our neighbors as we all waited at a bus stop to see our children off to school. I had just started becoming interested in amateur astronomy, so I was chatting a bit about it. One of our neighbors remarked that a local astronomy group often met on a nearby hill. She claimed that the hill was so high and the view so unobstructed that, on a clear day, from there in central Connecticut, one could see the World Trade Center towers. I never got the chance to verify her claim.
A few towns over from where we lived, there was a little store that puzzled me ever since I first saw it as a teenager. The store sold flags and flag accessories. I had no idea how it stayed in business: I drove by that store for years and never saw a single customer. But, a few days after 9/11, that store had a long line of customers waiting to get in.
My wife, who had lost a childhood friend in the attack, and who was active in the American Legion Auxiliary for most of her life, was heartened at the sudden patriotic display. I warned her then that it wasn’t going to last, that the Americans who hate this country would never allow it to last. And it wasn’t too long afterward that I noticed that, during any public display of patriotism and remembrance, any Ruling Class liberal present in the crowd would start to bristle. And soon after that, it became uncouth to show too many pictures of the attack, and then to show any at all.
As I have done in years past, I present below a piece that first appeared at National Review Online in 2004, on the third anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. It recounts the experiences of the Sullivan family, one of whom was killed at the World Trade Center.
Fifteen years have now passed, long enough for many to forget the horrors of that Tuesday morning, and long enough that some of our younger readers have no memory of them at all. This year’s high school freshmen were born after the 9/11 attacks, and to them that day is perhaps no more significant than any other notorious day from the history books. But for the Sullivan family, and for the thousands of families who also lost loved ones, the anniversary still evokes memories of great loss.
To recall that day is not to wallow in grief, it is rather to remember those we lost, and to remind ourselves that the war on radical Islam continues, even as some among us pretend it doesn’t.
For the fifteenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Preview Open
I am very proud of my oldest daughter. She is everything a Catholic father would hope for in a child: A strong and wise mother, a devoted wife, a burgeoning theologian, and a veteran. The latter came as a bit of a shock. After a couple months of post-high school aimlessness she called me at work to announce that she’d joined the Navy–something I’d never expected. A few weeks later my wife and I, along with my two younger daughters, drove Constance to Butte, the location of the Montana military induction center. Frankly, we weren’t quite sure she would take the final step of raising her hand and swearing to defend her country. But that morning, amid streaming tears and urgent hugs, she walked through the center doors and assumed her duties as a recruit.
I’m not much given to strong displays of emotion, but as we drove back to Billings, I had to stop from time to time as I was unable to see the road through my wet eyes.
Anyone who can’t figure out to whom the headline of this post is directed has been under a rock, in a basement, for the last 8 years. After reading on Townhall that the President could veto the bill allowing 9/11 families to sue Saudi Arabia—on 9/11, it makes my brain and heart weep. I can’t […]
Download them here–still redacted, but gives some sense of what the connections were between high-ranking Saudis and the nineteen hijackers. I don’t see a smoking gun here, but there do appear to be some relationships that are sketchy. Tell me what you think. Preview Open
My family stopped by my wife’s old home town today. We were meeting some friends at the train station there. As we waited for them to arrive I walked over to the town’s 9/11memorial. My wife was visiting with her parents that week in 2001. This is the train station where she waited for her father […]
This is my second essay on Christians at war. Like The great raid, We were soldiers was made in 2002, but this was actually released that year, one expects because of the prestige of the cast. I don’t suppose anyone will argue this is independent of 9/11. I suppose you might call this movie prophetic. It shows […]
I suppose “New York Values” is kind of a Rorschach blot, with people reading into it whatever they like, but to me it means this: I think that if the four hijacked airliners on September 11, 2001, had hit anywhere but Manhattan, New Yorkers wouldn’t feel so strongly about it. In fact – and this is just my gut feeling – if the only one that had reached its destination that morning was the one that hit the Pentagon, the majority of New Yorkers would have said, “Eh. Just a bunch of warmongers anyway. Live by the sword, die by the sword.”
Let’s not forget that many people sum up that day as the day the Twin Towers were attacked, as if that were the totality of the horror that was inflicted. I have actually had conversations that went like this: