Not So Sweet Sixteen | THE POLITICUS

Not So Sweet Sixteen

As Irma pounds the hell out of the Southeast today, it's a bit hard - no, it's impossible - not to let the memory stray back to the man-made catastrophe of sixteen years ago. Late in the evening of Sunday, September 9, 2001, I gave my brother-in-law, Bob Borski, a ride to his home in Brooklyn. At around ten o'clock we passed just under the Twin Towers. I hadn't been that far downtown at night in a decade-or-so. I remember thinking how beautiful they looked towering over the night sky of Manhattan. Would George Gershwin's Rhapsody In Blue have sounded any different had those buildings existed in 1924? The 1993 terrorist assaut on the World Trade Center was still a fresh memory. I speculated to Bob the damage a privately-owned D-10, it's aisles racked with 55 gallon drums of gasoline could do. It never occurred to me that a commercial airliner would do the trick quite handily.
 
Forty-eight hours later, those buildings were gone forever.
 
The horror of September 11, 2001 has faded like the smoke that lingered over New York City for so many days afterward. I'm lucky in that I didn't lose any loved ones. My cousin, Patricia Cullen, who was working in one of the towers, barely escaped with her life. For about four hours we thought that she didn't make it. She was finally able to get through to us and let us know that she was safe and sound. The relief was palpable. Of course the families of many others wouldn't be as lucky as ours. My other brother-in-law, Jack Dermigny. lost his cousin Dan. The brother of my pal, Joe Stark, was one of the scores of firefighters who went into the towers, never to emerge. September 11, 2001 was that kind of day.
 
America's luck ran out on that day. Throughout all of our history, whenever we were confronted with a national trauma, the United States had been blessed with a leader at the helm who was able to guide the ship of state through the crisis with wisdom and clarity. Within months, in spite of the mass good will that was directed at him, it became clear what a mistake it had been to elect George W. Bush as president of the United States. His complete incompetence has been foreshadowed only by the corrupt and disastrous administration of Donald Trump. After nearly eight months of Trump, Bush is starting to look like Franklin Roosevelt. Never did I dream that things would get this weird. Did you? 

Hindsight is a funny thing, isn't it?

By noon on the day of the attack, all civilian, aircraft were grounded. Late that night, for reasons I cannot remember, I found myself walking a deserted street in front of the commons of the college I had attended over two decades before. It was there that I happened upon an old girlfriend. Of course, we were discussing the atrocity of that day when, from out of nowhere, the sky of Middletown, New York was jolted by the roar of what I assumed (and hoped) to be a military jet. Although invisible to us, it was obvious that it was flying at a low altitude. After a few minutes, we gave each other a hug in the darkened street and went on our separate ways. It was such a surreal ending of what had been a completely surreal day.

Sixteen years after the fact, 9/11 is still too depressing to think about. The fact that the American people have foolishly turned over their government to incompetents who don't believe in government makes a terrorist attack on the scale of what happened on that day (or much worse) almost inevitable. This is the grave that the inmates of Idiot Nation have dug for themselves.

Have a lovely day!

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

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