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9/11 thoughts, 10 years later

Published September 12. 2011 08:28AM


Below is a reproduction of the editorial I wrote after Sept. 11, 2001, under deadline, while the Twin Towers burned out of control, depicted on the television set located on a shelf behind my TIMES NEWS desk. It's probably not the best editorial I have ever written in my more than 45 years in the newspaper business. But it's among the most passionate writing I have done as I watched this day of infamy unfold.

I thought it appropriate to run it again on this 10th anniversary weekend of the disaster, reliving a day that exposed all our vulnerabilities to the evil terrorists who would do us harm.

But even on that day of death and destruction, there was life and hope. My friend, Bill Donovan's first grandson was born, in Maryland, that morning as the twin towers burned. He called from his car on the way to the hospital to give me the news. Happy 10th Birthday, Lucas. Hopefully you'll continue to grow up in a safer, more loving world.

A happy day also to my old friend, Mike Terry, who also observes his birthday on Sept. 11, although he's a few years older than Lucas.


All Americans must rally


It's a date that will live in infamy. Future generations will view the pictures of Tuesday's catastrophic terrorist attack in New York City and Washington, D.C. with the same horror that our generation views the pictures of Dec. 7, 1941, Pearl Harbor Day.

And just like the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor plunged us into World War II, yesterday's despicable actions, where terrorists used innocent people as human missiles by hijacking four airliners and plunging three of them into the twin towers of the World Trade Center, and the Pentagon, has also plunged us into war.

Today we are in a war against terrorism, matched against faceless, hidden cowards who have yet to take credit for their actions.

Americans are in shock. Americans are living in fear. And Americans are angry perhaps even angrier than they have ever been.

The lives of each and every one of us is changed today. Without exception, life as we knew it will never be the same. This act of aggression, the worst catastrophe in the history of this nation, hit home, right in the heart of the symbols of our economy and our military.

America has become the world leader that it is because, in times when freedom has been attacked, Americans have rallied together to beat back the oppressor. The only time this nation was divided during the Vietnam crisis we lost. There's a message to be learned there.

We must put our petty differences aside whether it involves race, religion, politics, whatever. We are all Americans. That's the only thing that matters today.

But what can I do to help, you might be asking.

You can do plenty.

Fly your flag. And fly it proudly. No symbol better displays our unity.

If you have a job, work at it better and harder than you ever have. Your efforts might make life a little better for someone else a co-worker, a friend, a customer.

If you're a supervisor, or an employer, make an effort to take a minute and let your employees know how valuable they are to your operation. Everyone is functioning under a lot of added stress today. Thousands of people lie dead in the rubble of the Twin Towers and the Pentagon. Some of them are certain to be someone we know, or someone related to a person we know. Thousands more are risking their lives conducting the rescue operation in conditions that are still very dangerous. These are the times when heroes emerge.

In days to come we will learn more about how our personal assistance can help.

But for now, there is an urgent need for blood donors for the victims of the explosions. Watch your local television stations, listen to your radio, read your newspaper to find out where Red Cross Bloodmobiles are being set up, and go to them and roll up your sleeves. If you can't find a site, then call 1-800-GIVE LIFE for information concerning the nearest Bloodmobile.

Pause for a moment and comfort yourself in the company of your family. The terrorists who struck yesterday have no capacity to feel for human life and family values. that's what puts us head and shoulders above them.

And, there's prayer. Many churches have already organized vigils where people can gather to bring comfort to themselves and others. Prayer might be our biggest weapon.

Finally, we must have confidence in our country and in our leaders. We must be confident that the perpetrators of these despicable acts of terror will pay for their crimes against the free world, and that the U.S. will take the necessary steps to see that such crimes will never take place again.

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