12 Sep 2001 mdorman   » (Journeyer)

Quite a day

I haven't been peripherally involved in a terrorist attack in nearly twenty years.

That time I was in a school bus outside of Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany, sitting for several hours because a car-bomb had gone off in front of Headquarters USAFE (United States Allied Forces Europe). I was twelve.

For the next five years every day my school bus stopped at the gate to the base, and a dour looking armed military policeman would enter at the front of the bus, walk down the aisle, and exit at the rear of the bus.

This time I was in a plane bound for Minneapolis, MN, to catch a flight from there to San Jose, CA to do a week and a bit of on-site time for the company I contract with---a trip I make roughly once a month.

The captain had just gotten off the intercom saying we were about an hour out of Minneapolis ten minutes before when we obviously started to descent, and the captain came back on and told the passengers that we were being grounded in Milwaukee, something had happened at the World Trade Center. I couldn't imagine what difference a bomb at the world trade center could make to our flight---at least, what could warrant making an early landing.

The first call I made was to my father, the ex-Air Force back-seater to find out what happened---but I wasn't able to complete the call, and when I heard something about a plane hitting the WTC, and I called my wife and left her a message that I was OK, still thinking that it was some sort of air traffic control problem. So I called my father back, and that's when he told me what all had happened.

I don't think I knew anyone who was hurt or killed. My sister's parents-in-law both work in the Pentagon, but they were OK. I don't have any real ties with anyone in NY. I guess in a way I escaped unscathed.

While I feel badly for the people who died, and the people who were hurt, I have to wonder, though, what possible response we can make that isn't just going to continue the odious cycle of hatred and death.

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