September 11, 2008

Every day is September 12

Amazing photo, isn't it?

I took it from a chartered flight in July 1993, a bachelor party for my future brother-in-law who's now a brother to me.

We flew due west from Plymouth to the Hudson River on a clear day in summer, then south to Manhattan, not far from the flight path taken by Flight 11, the first of the planes to strike on another crystalline morning eight years later.

Flying over the Hudson River with the New York skyline to our left, I remember thinking how odd it was that we could come so close to the skyscrapers, and that a bomber plane had slammed into the Empire State Building toward the end of World War II. That was my first reaction on Sept. 11, 2001, as I awakened my 2-year-old son and my wife called up to say a plane hit the World Trade Center. Must be another military plane, I thought. Turns out it was.

After passing Lower Manhattan, the skyscrapers looming above us and looking close enough to touch, we circled twice around the Statue of Liberty. I took the photo shown here during one of those circuits. From this perspective, we could see what the doomed souls on Flight 175 later saw in the last seconds of their lives. Minutes earlier, as we flew over the George Washington Bridge and approached Manhattan, we saw what those on Flight 11 last witnessed before barbarians snuffed out their lives.

I keep this photo on the wall of my office, not far from photos of my family and other relatives and cherished friends and wonderful places I've had the good fortune to visit. I keep this photo as a reminder that the more we lull ourselves into complacency about the threat posed by militant Islam, the more likely the wolves will strike again.

As they say in AA, the further you get from your last drink, the closer you are to the next.

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