I recall where I was when the World Trade Center buildings were destroyed. Someone in a cubicle next to mine received an email that a plane had crashed into one of the World Trade Center Buildings. I thought it was yet another ridiculous email chain-letter forwarded by the same sort of gullible people who pass on dire warnings of syringes in telephone booths and rat urine on soda cans, and I told them so with a sneer (I am sometimes not as kind as I would like to be: I was even less so back then).
But more and more people heard this news, and then someone said that it was on the television in the break room. Still skeptical, I went and watched with everyone else.
I was flabbergasted when it was on the news in the break room, live — and then a second plane slammed into the other World Trade Center building, right in front of me. Even then, I thought it had to be a hoax or publicity stunt of some kind. I mean, how could two planes possibly hit skyscrapers in the same city on the same day? It’s inconceivable.
But it was true, of course, as we all learned over the following days and weeks.
The worst was yet to come, of course: the massive, brutal insult to American travelers known as the TSA, and the various violations of our basic human rights in the name of keeping us “safe”. Buildings can be rebuilt, and while the death toll from the airplane crashes was tragic, that many people die on our highways every month. The plane crashes may have been the work of psychotic foreigners, but the real damage to the USA happened afterward, and was perpetrated by Americans. I will probably not live long enough to see that damage undone.