Posted: March 28, 2015 Filed under: Foreign Affairs, morning reads, Republican politics, U.S. Politics | Tags: Amanda Knox, Andreas Lubitz, defense spending, East Village explosion, East Village history, gas leak, Germanwings crash, GOP Clown Car, LGBT prejudice, New York City, Rand Paul, Saudi Arabia, Yemen
I can’t wait for spring flowers and warmer weather, can you tell? I have all the symptoms of Spring fever, including inability to concentrate on anything serious, like politics or plane crashes. But I’ll do my best to give you some interesting links on this lazy late March Saturday.
I’m sure you’ve heard by now that Amanda Knox has finally been freed to live her life without the bizarre Italian legal system breathing down her neck. From the Chicago Tribune: Amanda Knox conviction thrown out by Italian court, closing legal saga.
Amanda Knox, who maintained that she and her former Italian boyfriend were innocent in her British roommate’s murder through multiple trials and nearly four years in jail, was vindicated Friday when Italy’s highest court threw out their convictions once and for all.
“Finished!” Knox’s lawyer Carlo Dalla Vedova exulted after the decision was read out late Friday. “It couldn’t be better than this.”
The surprise decision definitively ends the 7½-year legal battle waged by Knox, 27, and co-defendant Raffaele Sollecito, 31, to clear their names in the gruesome 2007 murder and sexual assault of British student Meredith Kercher.
The supreme Court of Cassation panel deliberated for 10 hours before declaring that the two did not commit the crime, a stronger exoneration than merely finding insufficient evidence to convict. Instead, had the court-of-resort upheld the pair’s convictions, Knox would have faced 28 ½ years in an Italian prison, assuming she would have been extradited, while Sollecito had faced 25 years.
“Right now I’m still absorbing what all this means and what comes to mind is my gratitude for the life that’s been given to me,” Knox said late Friday, speaking to reporters outside her mother’s Seattle home.
This case has made me grateful that in the U.S. Constitution contains a double jeopardy clause.
Things are getting really ugly in Yemen. From The Washington Post: How the Yemen conflict risks new chaos in the Middle East.
BEIRUT — The meltdown in Yemen is pushing the Middle East dangerously closer to the wider regional conflagration many long have feared would arise from the chaos unleashed by the Arab Spring revolts.
What began as a peaceful struggle to unseat a Yemeni strongman four years ago and then mutated into civil strife now risks spiraling into a full-blown war between regional rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran over a country that lies at the choke point of one of the world’s major oil supply routes.
With negotiators chasing a Tuesday deadline for the framework of a deal to curb Iran’s nuclear program, it seems unlikely that Iran would immediately respond militarily to this week’s Saudi airstrikes in Yemen, analysts say.
But the confrontation has added a new layer of unpredictability — and confusion — to the many, multidimensional conflicts that have turned large swaths of the Middle East into war zones over the past four years, analysts say.
The United States is aligned alongside Iranian-backed militias in Iraq and against them in Yemen. Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, who have joined in the Saudi offensive in Yemen, are bombing factions in Libya backed by Turkey and Qatar, who also support the Saudi offensive in Yemen. The Syrian conflict has been fueled by competition among all regional powers to outmaneuver one another on battlefields far from home.
Scary. All this because George W. Bush lied us into two needless, unwinnable wars.
Ahramonline: Arab leaders pledge support to Yemen.
Although Saturday’s Arab League summit was due to cover a range of regional topics, the ongoing crisis in Yemen took the lead spot as the summit opened with speeches from Arab leaders.
A Saudi-led military offensive is underway against targets held by Houthi rebels in the turmoil-hit country, with the backing of a number of Arab states.
In his opening speech, Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said that military action was “inevitable” to restore legitimate rule in Yemen.
El-Sisi also said that Egypt has accepted a proposal by a meeting of Arab foreign ministers to form a joint Arab military force to counter the “unprecedented threats” facing the region’s stability.
Arab foreign ministers agreed on a draft resolution to form a joint Arab military force to counter growing security threats in the region. The proposal requires the endorsement of the Arab leaders during the two-day summit this weekend.
Saudi’s King Salman vowed in his opening speech that the military intervention will not stop until Yemen is stable and safe. The monarch said that Saudi Arabia supports the Hadi government’s legitimacy in Yemen and wants stability for the Yemeni population.
He further stated that the situation in the region necessitates an Arab coalition to fight terrorism.
More details from CNN: Arab League to discuss military operation in Yemen.
The Wall Street Journal on the incredibly selfish, suicidal co-pilot of that crashed Germanwings jet: Germanwings Co-Pilot Andreas Lubitz Concealed Depression From Airline.
BERLIN—Andreas Lubitz, the Germanwings co-pilot who crashed an airliner into a French mountainside, was being treated for depression, a fact he concealed from his employer, according to a person familiar with the investigation.
Mr. Lubitz had been excused from work by his neuropsychologist for a period that included the day of the crash, this person told The Wall Street Journal, but he decided to ignore the advice and reported to work.
The Germanwings tragedy highlights a broader industry dilemma: reliance on pilots themselves to disclose serious physical or psychological ailments to their employer—and what can happen when secrecy urges or privacy considerations trump full disclosure, safety and medial experts say.
Despite mandatory, regular medical exams—supplemented by company-specific safeguards intended to periodically check on aviators’ skills and psychological state—airlines ultimately depend on employees to honestly assess and report when they shouldn’t be flying.
In return, Germanwings, a unit of Deutsche Lufthansa AG, and many other airlines around the globe promise to avoid punishing pilots who comply with that guiding principle.
Read more at the WSJ. As Dakinikat wrote yesterday, this guy could have just shot himself or jumped out of a high window, but instead he decided to take 149 other people–including babies and high school kids–with him when he committed suicide.
A few stories on the terrible explosion in NYC’s East Village:
Newsweek: A Slice of New York City History Goes Up In Smoke.
An explosion in Manhattan’s East Village on Thursday injured an estimated 25 people and destroyed a row of landmarked buildings that have held meaning for generations of New Yorkers. At one time the mayor’s residence was there, and another building housed an iconic vintage-clothing store made popular in the 1985 film Desperately Seeking Susan.
“It’s a real tragedy. It was scary,” says Simeon Bankoff, executive director of the Historic Districts Council. “It’s shocking when this happens in an area that’s so close-knit. People really live on the streets here, in a good way. There’s a real community.”
City officials say the March 26 explosion happened at 121 Second Avenue and also damaged the neighboring buildings at 119, 123 and 125. The buildings all were awarded landmark status in October 2012 as part of a designation of an East Village/Lower East Side Historic District. The buildings in that district date mostly to the mid- to late 1800s, a time when wealthier New Yorkers started moving uptown and selling off their properties, which were often turned into tenement housing.
European immigrants began moving into the area in large numbers in the second half of the 19th century. An early influx consisted mostly of Germans, and the area became known as Kleindeutschland, or Little Germany. Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe moved there too and established a vibrant theater district.
“The East Village and the Lower East Side are remarkable in that they’ve seen successive waves of immigrants and new populations coming in and really shaping and affecting the physical environment, bringing with them their social clubs, their gathering places,” Bankoff says.
By the middle of the 20th century, the Village became an epicenter for artists and bohemians.
The historic district, one of 114 in the city, runs north-south from around East 7th Street to East Second Street and east-west from First and Second avenues to the Bowery.
Click on the above link to continue reading. More details on the fire at ABC News: NYC Building Fire: Restaurant Owner Smelled Gas Before Massive Explosion, Officials Say.
From The New Yorker, a thoughtful and interesting essay on living in the East Village by Sarah Larson: The East Village Fire: Love Saves the Day.
Finally, one of the passengers in the GOP Clown Car, faux libertarian Rand Paul, opens his big mouth and spews nonsense and hate.
From Charles Pierce’s “Stupid for Lunch” cafe: Rand Paul’s Take On Defense Spending. In which the cafe staff starts the five minute clock for Senator Rand Paul.
The staff at the Cafe has a small clock in one particular booth. The booth is reserved for Senator Rand Paul, whenever he stops by for a quick lunch, for which he invariably undertips, when he doesn’t try to beat itout the back door.
Time was when Senator Aqua Buddha entertained us all — five minutes at a time — about how the country was wasting its money on a whole mess of sophisticated boom-boom. The staff knows when to begin the countdown and they begin invariably to whisper again…
Continue reading at the link.
Atheist Ayn Rand must be spinning in her grave over this from TPM.
Rand: ‘Moral Crisis’ Led To Gay Marriage, US Needs Religious Revival.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) on Thursday told a group of pastors and religious leaders that the debate over gay marriage was a symptom of a “moral crisis” in America and said he hoped for “another Great Awakening.”
“Don’t always look to Washington to solve anything,” Paul said during a private prayer breakfast at the Capitol Hill Club.
“In fact, the moral crisis we have in our country — there is a role for us trying to figure out things like marriage — there’s also a moral crisis that allows people to think that there would be some sort of other marriage.”
Raw Story: Rand Paul calls for ‘tent revivals’ to resolve the ‘moral crisis’ of gay marriage.
“The moral crisis we have in our country — there is a role for us trying to figure out things like marriage — there’s also a moral crisis that allows people to think there would be some other sort of marriage, ” he explained. “I think the exhortation to try and change people’s thoughts has to come from the countryside.”
The libertarian lawmaker then took a slightly religious turn, saying “You know, I’ve said this before, we need a revival in the country.”
“We need another great awakening with tent revivals of thousands of people saying, you know,’reform or see what’s going to happen if we don’t reform’.”
In a recent interview with Brett Baier of Fox News, Paul admitted that the use of the term ‘marriage’ for same sex couples offends him.
Watch the video at Raw Story. Honestly, I think that cartoon JJ post last night is beginning to make sense. Someone must have put LSD in Rand’s grits when he was a kid. Why would anyone vote for this wacko?
I’d write about the latest “revelations” about Hillary’s emails, but I don’t want to completely depress myself. I have to believe this will all die down before the 2016 primaries.
What have you been hearing and reading? Let us know in the comment thread and enjoy the rest of March. April is coming soon!
Posted: September 11, 2013 Filed under: morning reads | Tags: New York City, September 11th 12th anniversary, World Trade Center
Here comes yet another anniversary of September 11th…it is a bad date for my family. Not only does it bring horrible memories of the attack on World Trade Center, and the hours of torture that followed… such painful thoughts flood back into our minds. It also is the day my daughter lost her school friend, Kenny, in a car accident three years ago.
Bad, sad day.
My internet was out most of the day yesterday, in fact it is going off and on while I write this post! I keep getting warnings from WordPress, so I best make this quick.
Little Green Footballs had a thread up and it is a long one, with all sorts of pictures and updates on the 12th Anniversary: 12 Years Later: Remembering 9/11 – Little Green Footballs
The past 10 years have been a near constant reminder of the profound sense of absence. 1WTC (aka the Freedom Tower) has finally recaptured part of the skyline. 1WTC is still under construction but the antenna and external structures are complete. The base and interior work continues.
Construction of the Transit Hub is also underway, and Santiago Calatrava’s design now peeks out above ground as well.
The WTC Transit Hub from Greenwich Street at Vesey
Looking down Greenwich St at the WTC Transit Hub and 3 and 4 WTC
4WTC exterior finished; the building needs interior work, but is in its final form.
Take a look at the link for some info on strange dealings with the Port Authority, and a $10.00 sale agreement gone phfffft….I just thought the pictures were something good to see.
The skyline will never be the same. Neither will our hearts, which are heavy with the loss and supreme sacrifices made on 9/11 by the rescue personnel who bravely rushed up the towers even as people were racing to get out of the towers or gasping as people were forced to jump to their deaths to avoid being burned alive in the fires that racked the towers.
Tribute in Light<
Looking up at 1WTC and 7WTC.
More photos of Ground Zero and the rebuilding at the World Trade Center, as taken from 4WTC, which is scheduled to open next year.
The WTC as seen from Hoboken.
I think this image of the Tribute in Light is much better:
The “Tribute in Light” memorial is in remembrance of the events of September 11, 2001, in honor of the citizens who lost their lives in the World Trade Center attacks. The two towers of light are composed of two banks of high wattage spotlights that point straight up from a lot next to Ground Zero. The ÒTribute in LightÓ memorial was first held in March 2002. This photo was taken from Liberty State Park, New Jersey on September11, 2006, the five year anniversary of 9/11. USAF photo by Denise Gould.
Or my own picture of the towers from August 2000…
Nah, how about a picture of NYC back a long time ago…in 1933: If Charlie Parker Was a Gunslinger, There’d Be a Whole Lot of Dead Copycats
Old New York #66
Lower Manhattan (1933)
Wow…but you know something…it is so sad.
Ugh, it is emotionally draining for me…and since the internet is giving me problems I will go ahead and leave this morning’s post at that. I’ll post something a little later on…until then just use this as an open thread.
Posted: March 19, 2012 Filed under: morning reads | Tags: BIg spending republicans, miami, New Orleans, New York City, Obama birth control cave, police violence, Puerto Rico republican Primaries, Romney
Lots of things don’t surprise me these days. That would include the news that Clinton and Obama were more fiscally conservative than either of the Bush presidents or Ronald Reagan or Nixon or Ford. For that matter, Carter came in third. Once again, evidence shows that Republican memes are lies. Here’s a list of possible excuses for the Republican binges.
Let me anticipate some of your objections before you make them. (1) Reagan was fighting a war, he jacked up defense spending instead of discretionary spending, and he inherited a recession with inflation that might, well, inflate his numbers. This is all true, but expanding defense was Reagan’s choice, and a dollar spent, on no matter what, is a dollar taxed or borrowed. (2) Bush was fighting a war and battling a recession, too. Yes, but he had neither inflation nor a Great Recession. (3) Don’t play relativity games with me…too much government spending is too much government spending, even if Obama’s predecessors were worse! There is a time for government cuts, but it’s not when you have 9 percent unemployment and your interest rates are below 2%. (4) The language of Obamacare and financial reform are better indicators of big government than federal spending. It’s fair to measure government size by its total involvement in people’s lives, but that deserves a longer post. (5) We should be more concerned about the taxes and spending to come than the spending that has past. But they haven’t happened yet, so they’re not part of the president’s record.
Economix shows us how the recession has decreased the number of people that have health insurance. Some have lost coverage due to job loss. Some have lost insurance because their employers have scaled down benefits.
The share of children and working-age adults who had insurance through an employer fell 10 percentage points during the last recession, according to a study released on Thursday by the Center for Studying Health System Change, a nonpartisan research group in Washington.
From 2007 to 2010, the share of children and working-age adults with employer-sponsored coverage fell to 53.5 percent from 63.6 percent, according to the study.
The major contributor to the decline was the loss of employment during the downturn, with almost a third of the people younger than 65 living in a family where no one was working, according to the study. The study is based on the center’s 2007 and 2010 Health Tracking Household Surveys.
The surge in unemployment, coupled with the steady deterioration of the number of employers offering coverage and the number of workers signing up for insurance, is causing a “steady erosion” in employer-based coverage, said Chapin White, a senior researcher at the center who is an author of the study.
I wrote a post on Saturday on how the Obama administration seems to have back pedaled on its birth control coverage mandate for all but strict religious organizations. It appears that by providing self-insurance, organizations can avoid having private insurers providing the benefit for them. This would mean many schools, universities and hospitals–large employers of women–could avoid the mandate to provide women’s preventative health care.
Taking a conciliatory tone and asking for a wide range of public comment, the Obama administration announced this afternoon new accommodations on a controversial mandate requiring contraceptive coverage in health care plans.
Coming after a month of continued opposition from the U.S. bishops to the mandate, which was first revised in early February to exempt certain religious organizations, today’s announced changes from the Department of Health and Human Services make a number of concessions, including allowing religious organizations that self-insure to be made exempt.
It appears that the Administration has no problem with religious institutions discriminating against women or persons that don’t hold their specific views.
Romney’s won the Puerto Rican primaries. While the delegates are apportioned, Romney’s margin of victory will still give him the entire delegation.
Mitt Romney will win Sunday’s Republican presidential primary in Puerto Rico, CNN projects, based on vote results obtained from local party and election officials.
At 8:35 p.m. ET, with about 23% of total ballots accounted for, the former Massachusetts governor had a substantial lead with more than 25,000 votes — or 83% of the vote.
Rick Santorum was a distant second, at 8% with slightly more than 2,500 votes.
The other two candidates, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Texas Rep. Ron Paul, were further behind with 2% and 1% of the vote, respectively.
Speaking at a rally Sunday night in Vernon Hills, Illinois, Romney said that Puerto Rican voters were clear about which of the four candidates “most represent their feelings” — and especially their desire to nominate someone who can bring about a stronger economy and smaller government. He said his party can appeal to Latinos, and win the presidency, with a low-tax, pro-business message.
I’ve been watching this story unfold with absolute horror. This one has the feel of something that will make the wind change. Seventeen year old Trayvon Martin was killed by a neighborhood watch “captain” with a police fantasy and a racist mindset. The more you hear about his killer, the more it will make you wonder about who lives in your neighborhood.
On February 26, 2012, a 17-year-old African-American named Trayvon Martin was shot and killed in Sanford, Florida. The shooter was George Zimmerman, a 28-year-old white man. Zimmerman admits killing Martin, but claims he was acting in self-defense. Three weeks after Martin’s death, no arrests have been made and Zimmerman remains free.
Here is what everyone should know about the case:
1. Zimmerman called the police to report Martin’s “suspicious” behavior, which he described as “just walking around looking about.” Zimmerman was in his car when he saw Martin walking on the street. He called the police and said: “There’s a real suspicious guy. This guy looks like he’s up to no good, on drugs or something. It’s raining and he’s just walking around looking about… These a**holes always get away” [Orlando Sentinel]
2. Zimmerman pursued Martin against the explicit instructions of the police dispatcher:
Dispatcher: “Are you following him?”
Dispatcher: “OK, we don’t need you to do that.”
3. Prior to the release of the 911 tapes, Zimmerman’s father released a statement claiming “[a]t no time did George follow or confront Mr. Martin.” [Sun Sentinel]
4. Zimmerman was carrying a a 9 millimeter handgun. Martin was carrying a bag of Skittles and a can of iced tea. [ABC News]
5. Martin weighed 140 pounds. Zimmerman weighs 250 pounds. [Orlando Sentinel; WDBO]
6. Martin’s English teacher described him as “as an A and B student who majored in cheerfulness.” [Orlando Sentinel]
7. Martin had no criminal record. [New York Times]
8. Zimmerman “was charged in July 2005 with resisting arrest with violence and battery on an officer. The charges appear to have been dropped.” [Huffington Post]
9. Zimmerman called the police 46 times since Jan. 1, 2011. [Miami Herald]
10. According to neighbors, Zimmerman was “fixated on crime and focused on young, black males.” [Miami Herald]
11. Zimmerman “had been the subject of complaints by neighbors in his gated community for aggressive tactics” [Huffington Post]
12. A police officer “corrected” a key witness. “The officer told the witness, a long-time teacher, it was Zimmerman who cried for help, said the witness. ABC News has spoken to the teacher and she confirmed that the officer corrected her when she said she heard the teenager shout for help.” [ABC News]
13. Three witnesses say they heard a boy cry for help before a shot was fired. “Three witnesses contacted by The Miami Herald say they saw or heard the moments before and after the Miami Gardens teenager’s killing. All three said they heard the last howl for help from a despondent boy.” [Miami Herald]
14. The officer in charge of the crime scene also received criticism in 2010 when he initially failed to arrest a lieutenant’s son who was videotaped attacking a homeless black man. [New York Times]
15. The police did not test Zimmerman for drugs or alcohol. A law enforcement expert told ABC that Zimmerman sounds intoxicated on the 911 tapes. Drug and alcohol testing is “standard procedure in most homicide investigations.” [ABC News]
The police down here in New Orleans are considered to be so out of control that the DOJ may be taking over operations shortly. We also have had several suspicious shootings down here recently.
New Orleans police officials confirmed Thursday that the 20-year-old man who was fatally shot by a plain-clothed narcotics officer during a drug raid at a Gentilly house a day earlier was unarmed. New Orleans police officer Joshua Colclough, 28, fired a single shot Wednesday evening that killed Wendell Allen, 20. Police officials were guarded in their comments about the shooting Thursday, citing the ongoing investigation.
“We have not been able to yet completely understand what exactly occurred,” Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas said Thursday.
The shooting took place inside a red-brick, two-story home at 2651 Prentiss Ave. in Gentilly. Officers were executing a search warrant at the home following a days-old probe of marijuana dealing. Serpas said officers later found drug paraphernalia and 138 grams of marijuana — about four and a half ounces — inside the residence.
It was the second fatal shooting of a suspect by police within a week in the NOPD’s 3rd District, a relatively sleepy swath of residential neighborhoods that stretch from Lakeview through Gentilly. In last week’s incident, in Mid-City, two officers were badly injured in a gunfight before the alleged gunman, 20-year-old Justin Sipp, was killed by police gunfire.
Here’s another horrifying story from NY.
A trans woman says that when she was arrested for a minor subway violation, NYPD officers belittled her, called her names, asked about her genitals — and kept her chained to a fence for 28 hours. Now she’s suing. And it turns out she’s far from alone.
In her lawsuit, Temmie Breslauer says she was arrested on January 12 in a subway station for illegally using her dad’s discount fare card (only seniors and people with disabilities can get these). She says the arresting officers — the suit names one, Officer Shah — laughed at her. When they took her to the station, a desk sergeant asked her “whether she had a penis or a vagina.” Breslauer explained that she was in transition. Then, instead of putting her with female inmates or in her own room, the department allegedly chose this course of action:
[S]he was fingerprinted, seated on a bench, then painfully chained to a fence wherein, for no apparent reason, her arm was lifted over her head and attached to the fence to make it appear that she was raising her hand in the classroom. She sat there in that position for 28 hours.
She also says officers not only refused to call her “she,” they instead referred to her as “He-She”, “Faggot,” and “Lady GaGa,” and asked her “So you like to suck dick? Or what?” Meanwhile, people arrested for the same minor crime (misdemeanor “theft of services”) she was were calmly processed and allowed to leave. Finally, she was able to go before a judge, who gave her two days of community service. She says the whole ordeal aggravated her existing PTSD and left her sleepless and suicidal.
Makes you wonder what ever happened to honest, decent people, doesn’t it?
So, what’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Posted: September 11, 2011 Filed under: just because | Tags: New York City, September 11th, World Trade Center
Good morning, it’s been ten years…no need to say anything else. The words September Eleventh just reach my ears like a stone. It is strange, but many of the WTC survivors and the victim’s families refer to that day in using the words. September 11th. The numbers: 9/11 just seem to simple a way to describe such a sorrowful day…a jarring cold way to designate an important date.
That September morning was beautiful…the sky was clear and blue, and there was that warm Indian Summer feeling in the early morning air. We lived in Newtown, CT…on Sugar Street, in a big white house that was built in 1900. The house used to be a nursery, called Key Rock Gardens, and the grounds were full of ornamental trees and perennial gardens. I was outside that morning, my husband had been gone for three hours…catching that 5:40am Metro North train out of Bethal, that took him down to Stamford. From there the train headed toward New York City, and after the hour and a half train ride, he would arrive at Grand Central Station. On to the subway, the 4/5, going downtown…to the Trinity Church/Wall Street station. Then he would walk up a couple blocks to Liberty Street, next to the World Trade Center Complex.
Me and the kids in the park behind the Twin Towers one Tuesday in July or August of 2000, Dan, my husband is taking the picture.
It was a Tuesday, and the Amish Market would have been in full swing along the large concrete walkways at the World Trade Plaza. Before we moved to Connecticut, when we lived downtown in Hanover Square, I would take our kids to World Trade Plaza and we’d meet their father there for lunch. Tuesdays were special, we would grab something from one of the vendors at the market and take our lunch to a small area, just behind the towers…We would sit on park benches, surrounded by ponds with water gardens and raised beds that held beautiful flowers.
Oh yes, that September morning was beautiful…I was watering the plants that were outside along the front of our house…when I heard the sound of a loud jet engine. I looked up and saw a huge jet flying real low over our house. I was familiar with that sound, growing up in Tampa our house was right in the path of the jets that would land at the International Airport, so the jets would fly directly over our house. You could hear the engines and see the big wheels, in the down position…
It was strange so see this plane flying so low over our house on Sugar St., we did not have any airports nearby where a jet that big could land…and what made it even more odd, was that the wheels were still up in there compartments….and the compartment doors were closed shut. I shut the hose off and went into the house, I was concerned, I thought the plane was having problems and that was why it was flying so low. The kids were playing in the sunroom, Disney’s Fantasia was playing on the VCR when my husband called me from his office. He had forgotten his cell phone at home that day…but that was not why he had called. He told me to turn the TV on, a plane had flown into the North Tower, or Tower 1 of the World Trade Center…his corner office was just across the street and overlooked the towers.
I was on the phone with him as I watched CNN’s Paula Zahn, filming her first show from the rooftop when the second plane hit the tower…it was strange, I saw the big fire-ball, but I had heard the speeding jet over the phone…loud, like a fighter jet flying low, buzzing a beach or a mountain…as it flew into the South Tower, also called Tower 2.
He told me the people who worked for him were going to try to leave the office, but several of his brokers went to see if they could help…he wanted to make sure they came back to the office and that they were safe, before he left the building. That was the last time I spoke with him. My kids and I watched those buildings fall. Then we waited. I knew his office was so close to the falling Towers, there was a strong possibility that he was in extreme danger. We thought the worst.
He walked in the door later that night after 7:30, covered in ash and dust, after running from the debris cloud as the second tower fell. His building was damaged when the towers fell, and three people from his office were killed.
FILE – In this Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001 file picture, a person falls headfirst from the north tower of New York’s World Trade Center. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
He said the worst thing was watching groups of 20 to 25 people holding hands jumping from the burning building. He saw people fall and burst into pieces as they hit the cement or landed on the large light poles that were in the plaza. He found a heavyset woman lying in the street, when he grabbed her wrist, she had no pulse, he said she must have had a heart attack as she ran.
These are just a few of the things he has told my father. It’s been ten years, and he still will not talk to me about the things he saw, but I am there when he has the nightmares. They don’t come as often now, but they still seem to break through his sleep during this time of year.
One thing is strange since that day ten years ago… you would be amazed at just how many times he takes a look at the clock, and the time is 9:11. He says it is God’s way of reminding him of that September day.
We cannot forget what we saw that day. We cannot “get over” what happened on that day ten years ago…and I will tell you, it is very upsetting to see articles and op/ed pieces in the press that tell us to leave 9/11 behind.
We’ll never get over it.
There were two targets, Washington and New York. Washington saw a great military institution attacked, and quickly rebuilt. In Washington people ran barefoot from the White House and the Capitol.
But New York saw a world end. New York saw the buildings come down.
That was the thing. It’s not that the towers were hit—we could have taken that. It’s not the fire, we could have taken that too. They bombed the World Trade Center in 1993 and took out five floors, and the next day we were back in business.
It’s that the buildings came down, in front of our eyes. They were there and proud and strong, they were massive, two pillars at the end of the island. And then they groaned to the ground and there was a cloud and when people could finally see they looked back and the buildings weren’t there breaking through the clouds anymore. The buildings were a cloud. The buildings were gone and that was too much to bear because they couldn’t be gone, they couldn’t have fallen. Because no one could knock down those buildings.
Those buildings, jetting out of the skyline. You could see them from almost any angle in Midtown and Lower Manhattan. They watched over us. They protected us.
The Twin Towers, I took this picture in July or August of 2000.
When you ask New Yorkers now what they remember, they start with something big—the first news report, the phone call in which someone said, “Turn on the TV.” But then they go to the kind of small thing that when you first saw it you had no idea it would stay in your mind forever. The look on the face of a young Asian woman on Sixth Avenue in the 20s, as she looked upward. The votive candles on the street and the spontaneous shrines that popped up, the pictures of saints. The Xeroxed signs that covered every street pole downtown. A man or a woman in a family picture from a wedding or a birthday or bar mitzvah. “Have you seen Carla? Last seen Tuesday morning in Windows on the World.”
I remember seeing these posters and notes that were put up all over Manhattan…it was so hard to walk by these makeshift signs…those lost faces of families looking for their lost loved ones. Holding on to the last bit of hope, that they made it out alive and were somewhere in the city and just could not make it home.
The Pompeii-like ash that left a film on everything in town, all the way to the Bronx. The smell of burning plastic that lingered for weeks. A man who worked at Ground Zero told me: “It’s the computers.” They didn’t melt or decompose, and they wouldn’t stop burning.
But the human remains did decompose. My husband would smell death every day for weeks as he went back to work just a day after the towers fell. People would line the streets as the first responders would head into the pit. They held up signs, gave out bottles of water, and waited…
The old woman with her grandchild in a stroller. On the stroller she had written a sign in magic marker: “America You Are Not Alone, Mexico Is With You.” She was all by herself in the darkness, on the side of the West Side Highway, as we stood to cheer the workers who were barreling downtown in trucks to begin the dig-out, and to see if they could find someone still alive.
Many heartbreaking things happened after 9/11 and maybe the worst is that there’s no heroic statue to them, no big marking of what they were and what they gave, at the new World Trade Center memorial.
But New York will never get over what they did. They live in a lot of hearts.
They tell us to get over it, they say to move on, and they mean it well: We can’t bring an air of tragedy into the future. But I will never get over it. To get over it is to get over the guy who stayed behind on a high floor with his friend who was in a wheelchair. To get over it is to get over the woman by herself with the sign in the darkness: “America You Are Not Alone.” To get over it is to get over the guys who ran into the fire and not away from the fire.
You’ve got to be loyal to pain sometimes to be loyal to the glory that came out of it.
So many of those people who died in the towers have never been found, they just incinerated into dust that was blown over the city. Even in Newtown, Connecticut, for days after the buildings fell, ash and dust was falling from the sky. It was like being near a large wildfire, when you see those papery ash particles float down like bits of snow.
As of January 2010, only 1,626 of the 2,752 victims had been identified.
We cannot forget…
Eric O’Connell/courtesy of HBO
“Beyond 9/11: Portraits of Resilience,” a collaboration by Time magazine and HBO, will be shown on CNN on Friday and Saturday; HBO will show it on Sunday at 8:46 a.m., the time the first plane hit the World Trade Center.
Nobody who remembers Sept. 11 wants to relive it.
And that makes the profusion of 10th-anniversary specials blanketing television throughout the weekend daunting to contemplate, let alone watch. Seeing those images and hearing all those stories is a painful exercise at best, cathartic only in the sense that repression is worse.
What happened that day was unimaginable, and, 10 years on, so is not going over it, again and again.
A scene from “Beyond 9/11: Portraits of Resilience.”
There are many archives and photo projects that I would like to mention.
The September 11 Photo Project
The September 11 Photo Project began as a community response to the tragic events of last fall. The Project grew out of a desire to preserve the culture of the outdoor, makeshift shrines that sprang up in public squares and in front of firehouses throughout the city. Anyone wishing to participate was invited to give up to three photographs with accompanying text, which were hung in a donated gallery space.
The Project’s philosophy is simple: To display without exception every set of photos and written statements that are submitted, and to welcome all those who wish to view them. The Project is unique in its approach—each participant, not the organizers, selects the pieces that are displayed, and all are included in the firm belief that no entry is better than any other.
The September 11 Photo Project put the images it received into a book, you can click on that link and see sample pages. It is now a permanent exhibit of the Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Collection of the New York Public Library.
September 11, 2001, Documentary Project – (American Memory from the Library of Congress)
The September 11, 2001, Documentary Project captures the heartfelt reactions, eyewitness accounts, and diverse opinions of Americans and others in the months that followed the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and United Airlines Flight 93. Patriotism and unity mixed with sadness, anger, and insecurity are common themes expressed in this online presentation of almost 200 audio and video interviews, 45 graphic items, and 21 written narratives.
The day after the attacks, the American Folklife Center called upon the nation’s folklorists and ethnographers to collect, record, and document America’s reaction. A sampling of the material collected through this effort was used to create the September 11, 2001, Documentary Project. This collection captures the voices of a diverse ethnic, socioeconomic, and political cross-section of America during trying times and serves as a historical and cultural resource for future generations.
National September 11 Memorial & Museum | World Trade Center Memorial
Below are some links to items and artifacts that are part of the exhibit in the museum, stories, pictures and oral histories…Museum | National September 11 Museum
Like a chair that was donated to the museum, and the story that goes with it:
Lower Manhattan Resident Kathleen Gupta
Kathleen and Udayan Gupta’s Battery Park City home overlooking the World Trade Center was severely damaged on 9/11. Listen to Kathleen Gupta speak about residential life in lower Manhattan before and after September 11 and why the Guptas decided to donate a chair from their apartment to the Museum’s collection. Listen >>
I want to end with this, Pieces of demolished World Trade Center aboard Mars Rovers | Human World | EarthSky
The planet Mars is now home to a piece of the demolished World Trade Center in New York City.
A decade ago, engineers working with NASA turned a scrap of aluminum recovered from the site of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks into cable shields. The shields now protect rock abrasion tools on two Mars Rovers, named Spirit and Opportunity. These quiet tributes to the victims of 9/11 left Earth in 2003 and 2004.
The piece of metal with the American flag on it in this image of a NASA rover on Mars is made of aluminum recovered from the site of the World Trade Center towers in the weeks after their destruction. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell University
The story of how aluminum from the demolished towers of the World Trade Center (WTC) wound up being incorporated into the Mars Rovers is an interesting one. The tale involves robotics engineer and Rover team member Stephen Gorevan. He was riding his bike in lower Manhattan when a plane hit the WTC on September 11, 2001. He told NASA:
Mostly, what comes back to me even today is the sound of the engines before the first plane struck the tower. Just before crashing into the tower, I could hear the engines being revved up as if those behind the controls wanted to ensure the maximum destruction. I stopped and stared for a few minutes and realized I felt totally helpless, and I left the scene and went to my office nearby, where my colleagues told me a second plane had struck. We watched the rest of the sad events of that day from the roof of our facility.
When the engineers went back to work,
…they were frustrated by not being able to assist with 9/11 volunteer efforts. So, Steve Kondos, who was, at the time, a Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) engineer working with the Honeybee team, came up with the idea of embedding some kind of “interplanetary memorial” on the Rovers:
To carry out the idea, an early hurdle was acquiring an appropriate piece of material from the World Trade Center site. Through Gorevan’s contacts, a parcel was delivered to Honeybee Robotics from the mayor’s office on December 1, 2001, with a twisted plate of aluminum inside and a note: “Here is debris from Tower 1 and Tower 2.”
Tom Myrick, an engineer at Honeybee, saw the possibility of machining the aluminum into cable shields for the rock abrasion tools. He hand-delivered the material to the machine shop in Texas that was working on other components of the tools. When the shields were back in New York, he affixed an image of the American flag on each.
The Rovers have been on the surface of Mars since early in the last decade.
Spirit ended communications in March 2010. Opportunity is still going strong, and its rock abrasion tool is being used to explore a large crater that the rover reached in August of 2011. Gorevan noted:
It’s gratifying knowing that a piece of the World Trade Center is up there on Mars. That shield on Mars, to me, contrasts the destructive nature of the attackers with the ingenuity and hopeful attitude of Americans.
Sometime soon, both the Rovers will fall silent. But their aluminum tribute to 9/11′s victims will survive on the cold surface of the desert world Mars for millions of years to come.
Have a safe and reflective day, I will be spending it quietly with my husband and our children…remembering what happened that day and remembering the people who lost their lives in Washington DC, Lower Manhattan and a field in Pennsylvania, and thinking about those love ones they left behind…families that are still waiting for some part of them to come home.
“Leaving New York”
It’s quiet now
And what it brings
Comes calling back
A brilliant night
I’m still awake
I looked ahead
I’m sure I saw you there
You don’t need me
To tell you now
That nothing can compare
You might have laughed if I told you
You might have hidden A frown
You might have succeeded in changing me
I might have been turned around
It’s easier to leave than to be left behind
Leaving was never my proud
Leaving New York, never easy
I saw the light fading out
Now life is sweet
And what it brings
I tried to take
It wears me out
It lies in wait
And I’ve lost
Still in my eyes
The shadow of necklace
Across your thigh
I might’ve lived my life in a dream, but I swear
This is real
Memory fuses and shatters like glass
Mercurial future, forget the past
It’s you, it’s what I feel.
You might have laughed if I told you (it’s pulling me apart)
You might have hidden a frown (change)
You might have succeeded in changing me (it’s pulling me apart)
I might have been turned around (change)
It’s easier to leave than to be left behind (it’s pulling me apart)
Leaving was never my proud (change)
Leaving New York, never easy (it’s pulling me apart)
I saw the light fading out
You find it in your heart, it’s pulling me apart
You find it in your heart, change…
I told you, forever
I love you, forever
I told you, I love you
I love you, forever
I told you, forever
You never, you never
You told me forever
You might have laughed if I told you
You might have hidden the frown
You might have succeeded in changing me
I might have been turned around
It’s easier to leave than to be left behind (it’s pulling me apart)
Leaving was never my proud (change)
Leaving New York never easy (it’s pulling me apart)
I saw the life fading out (change)
Leaving New York, never easy (it’s pulling me apart)
I saw the light fading out (change)
Leaving New York never easy (it’s pulling me apart)
I saw the life fading out (change)