By Ed Farnan, USDR Contributor
I have many memories of 911. Like most Americans I was stunned and shocked seeing the second airliner slam into the Twin Towers in the early morning hours of 9/11.
But what brought me out of my shock and made me face the stark reality of that day? The sight of thousands of medical personnel standing by in their scrubs and street clothes eager to offer care, comfort and medical treatment to the injured we were sure would flood the hospitals.
But slowly it dawned on us, that there would be few injuries to treat and there were really not going to be any miracles rising from the eerily silent rubble. We were all New Yorkers then as our hearts went out to that great city and its citizens, we had all suffered a terrific blow.
Like a hornet’s nest that had been kicked, America buzzed with beefed up security. Everywhere that could be a suspected terror target, had armed camouflaged American troops, a welcome and reassuring sight to Americans at that time. But unseen were the clandestine protections in place, the snipers that were well positioned to protect Americans if another terror attempt was taken and the special surveillance capabilities of our high tech National Security Agency (NSA) were directed at known and unknown threats, a new term was conceived — the war on terror.
Squadrons of fully armed F-16’s were re-positioned near large American urban centers ready to respond to any threat made to American soil and citizens. F-16 pilots sat in their cockpits at the edge of the runway, engines idling, ready to roar full throttle at 1500 knots to meet any threat. Fifty miles gets covered in less than two minutes at that speed.
All air traffic at that time had been grounded in order for us to sort things out. Any aircraft that did not immediately land at the nearest airport would have been ordered shot down in order to avoid anymore suicide attacks. It would take our government time to let air traffic back in the skies and when they did, it would be under strict new rules.
When air traffic was finally able to resume, new security rules were in place and all passengers had to be searched before boarding, requiring that passengers get to the airport hours ahead of their intended flight.
I happened to be in the cockpit of an aircraft after the FAA allowed flight again into the US skies. As our aircraft approached Southern California airspace, we came over the rim of the mountains and saw that great California metropolis spread out before us. I blurted out “God blessAmerica” before I realized my finger was on the transmit button. The call went out to all aircraft in the vicinity… and the sky was crowded.
No voices answered back, but there were many dozens of microphone clicks acknowledging what I said with approval.
Since that time the U.S. is no longer engaged in a “war on terrorism.” Neither is it fighting “Jihadists” or in a “global war.” It is a “man caused disaster.” There is going to be a 911 commemorative memorial in NYC, but no prayer or mention of god is allowed. Due to economic difficulties, there are no more soldiers patrolling our iconic structures. The F-16’s long ago have been hangared or are doing sorties in kinetic military actions overseas.
Oh and BTW terror experts say we are ripe again for another 911 attack.
This story is dedicated to the memories of my dear brothers Mike and Don and my dear Sister in law Pama who perished 10 years ago in a 9/9 aviation tragedy.