Thursday, September 11, 2014

Sort of a 9/11 post

Everybody's posting their 9/11 reminiscences today. Most people seem to have watched the whole thing on TV and wept or stood in shock. Oddly enough, I didn't. I had no idea anything was amiss until I got to work and saw my co-workers huddled around the radio. As it became clear that this was big, my first thought was "I hope Mary [my editor who was in D.C. for a visit] got some good photos."  Then the enormity of the whole thing struck me.

Such is the thought process of a newspaperman. And that day, our little afternoon daily actually scooped the big metro papers that had all gone to press before the attack. We were on the other side of the country, not any sort of a target for even the most hateful enemy. What are they going to do, terrorize our potato fields?

So I don't have a lot of memorial stuff. What I do have is a snippet of a column by Dorothy Rabinowitz that reminds me why America is worth preserving:

There are other faces of Muslim America. Five years or so after the terrorists drove their planes and passengers into the twin towers and the Pentagon, a cab driver from Pakistan remarked, as we drove past the rubble where the towers had stood, that he could never pass this place without trying to see them again in his mind. A painful effort, for all that it brought back. What was not painful, he added, was the memory of certain people in his neighborhood—a mixed but mostly white area of Queens, with many Italian-Americans, some Jews, and he thought some Irish. After the attacks, some of the men had come to him.

"My wife doesn't go out without a head cover," he explained. The men had come to tell him that if anyone bothered her, or his family, he must come to them.

"I must tell them and must not be afraid. Do you know," he said, in a voice suddenly sharp, "what would have happened if Americans had done this kind of attack in my country? Every American—every Christian, every non-Muslim—would have been slaughtered, blood would have run in the streets. I know the kind of country this is. Thanks be to God I can give this to my children."
Thanks be to God indeed.