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Home | Tag Archives: 9/11

Tag Archives: 9/11

Texans in Congress Remember Close Calls and Lives Changed on 9/11

Sixteen years ago, it was a beautiful enough morning that Pete Olson, a staffer in the U.S. Senate, chose to drive from suburban Virginia into work with his Jeep’s top down. Just as the future Sugar Land-based congressman passed the Pentagon, his wife called to tell him a plane had hit one of the World Trade Center buildings.

Instantly, he recalled to her the 1945 incident when a B-25 bomber struck the Empire State Building, and he assumed the crash was a pilot error, medical emergency or weather complication.

He arrived to his job as a military adviser to then-U.S. Sen. Phil Gramm’s office on Capitol Hill to see the second plane hit in lower Manhattan.

He had one thought: “ATTACK!”

Minutes later, a friend called to tell him the Pentagon – that building he passed less than 30 minutes earlier – was now a burst of smoke. Then his chief of staff burst through the door.

“GET OUT! GO HOME!” the boss yelled.

The Pentagon was surely hit and authorities believed that a fourth plane in the sky that morning on Sept. 11, 2001 was headed for either the U.S. Capitol or the White House.

Current and future Texans serving in Congress were in all three of those buildings. They were Republicans and Democrats, and they came here to Washington from every corner of the state.

And yet, they all have shared memories of that frantic morning: they all believed at first the first plane was a freak accident; they remember the smoke plumes emerging from the Pentagon; they remember women running so fast on the pavement that lost high heels scattered the White House and U.S. Capitol grounds; they remember the jammed phone lines; and they remember the bridges into and out of the city closing.

But mostly, they remember the moment when somebody screamed at them “Get out!”

The Pentagon was the lone target hit in the Washington region.

U.S. Rep. Mac Thornberry was there in the building, having breakfast with Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

“I remember him very well receiving a note, so we decided to get out of there, he’s got things to do,” the Clarendon Republican told C-SPAN in 2012.

The future U.S. House Armed Services chairman decided to drive to the Capitol, just in time to receive the news about the second plane and the evacuation order.

Army Lt. Col. Brian Birdwell, a Texas native, was also in the Pentagon that morning. The future state senator was only yards away from where the plane crashed and suffered severe burns.

After the attack on the Pentagon, it was that fourth plane, United Airlines Flight 93, that wreaked further havoc on the city. Even years later, it is unclear whether the U.S. Capitol or the White House was the target of those hijackers.

Young White House staffer Jodey Arrington was a longtime George W. Bushloyalist, going back to the new president’s time at the Texas governor’s mansion.

Arrington, now the Republican congressman from Lubbock, was working in the White House on Sept. 11 tasked with interviewing appointees for high-profile positions in the federal government.

It was in the middle of one of those interviews when a colleague interrupted with the news of the first plane. Arrington turned on the television, but kept the volume low and continued on with the interview. And then he saw the second plane hit.

“It was less than a minute, and my door opens, and it’s a colleague of mine and he says, ‘A second plane hit. They think it’s terrorism. There’s a plane heading for the White House, and we gotta get out!”

“People were running down the hallways screaming, and literally women were taking off their heels and running,” he added of the scene at the White House. “I remember feeling especially insecure … Here we were in the White House complex, and we were resorting to rudimentary protocol for emergency evacuation. There was no alarm.”

The panic was just as frantic down Pennsylvania Avenue at the U.S. Capitol.

Democratic U.S. Reps. Sheila Jackson Lee of Houston and Eddie Bernice Johnson of Dallas were in a room just off the members’ dining room for a meeting with officials from the Small Business Administration.

Jackson Lee, too, went into the meeting thinking the first plane crash was a minor accident.

“That’s a shame,” she thought. And then nearly everyone’s phones started ringing.

“We had these flip-flop phones. No sophistication at all,” she said.

Annoyed, she and her colleagues were confused and began turning their phones off.

“Somebody snatched open the door and said, ‘We don’t know what’s happening. Get out!’” Jackson Lee recalled.

“All we could see was people running. Shoes off their feet. We were able to see leadership being bodily carried out down the steps to the black SUV because they had to go to the underground,” she said.

Jackson Lee ran with her colleagues across the Capitol grounds to the Library of Congress and was instructed to “hit the ground.”

When her colleague, Johnson, made it outside the U.S. Capitol, she stopped and looked around, absorbing the uproar of people running through the streets and members staring in disbelief at the Pentagon clouds.

Most members live near the U.S. Capitol. They simply walked home.

But much of Washington couldn’t get home because authorities shut down the bridges across the Potomac that took commuters to the suburbs.

Olson had to drive the opposite direction into Maryland to get home. Overhead, the former naval aviator watched an F-16 flying over the National Mall at supersonic, combat speed. He believes now that the pilot was Air Force Lt. Heather “Lucky” Penney, the pilot who had so frantically scrambled her plane she had no ammunition or missiles.

Instead, she streaked across the blue sky on a Kamikaze mission to take down the last hijacked airliner.

That drive home took Olson three hours. A universal blood type, he soon headed to the local donor bank.

“No one was angered when I was pushed in front of everyone because of my blood type,” he said.

But while most people were trying to get out of the city, U.S. Rep. Will Hurd, R-Helotes, was trying to get into the city.

Hurd, who was then completing his first year as a CIA officer, remembered feeling a pervasive sense of unease within the agency leading up to the attacks.

“I remember the months leading up to 9/11, where folks in the counterterrorism center were not going home. They were sleeping in their cars,” he said. “Folks that had been dealing with this issue were concerned that something major was going to happen.”

“There was a nervousness throughout the entire building,” he added.

After the second plane hit, the government building he was in also received an evacuation order.

Hurd actually lived inside of Washington proper. He ended up ditching his car in northern Virginia and jogged back to the city.

Hurd said “it’s hard to imagine” a day that had more impact on his career. “It was something that changed the focus of the CIA, it changed the focus of my career. I was supposed to go on a training element dealing with Venezuela.”

“At 2. a.m that night, I got the phone call – report to the basement of the new headquarters building of the CIA.” He was now on the counter-terrorism beat and his focus was Afghanistan. Soon, he was involved in the hunt for Osama bin Laden.

For Olson, the realization that the world had changed came late that night.

“My last memory was standing in my 17-month-old son Grant’s bedroom, looking at him sleeping peacefully without knowing that his life had changed forever,” Olson wrote to the Tribune in an email.

“[It was] re-enforced when [I] heard a jet engine loitering high above my house,” he added. “Since all commercial planes were grounded, only military fighters on combat air patrol were flying.”

“[I was] stunned that the terrorists had taken the war into Grant’s bedroom.”

Author: ABBY LIVINGSTON – The Texas Tribune

Local, Regional Rememberances for 9/11

To honor those lost in the attacks on 9/11, local groups will be hosting various ceremonies throughout the region.

***

EPFD TO HOST 9/11 MEMORIAL CEREMONY​

EL PASO, Texas – In commemoration of those who lost their lives during the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the El Paso Fire Department will be hosting a memorial ceremony at Fire Station 18.

Fire Chief Mario D’Agostino, Police Chief Greg Allen, and Sheriff Richard Wiles will present a wreath at the memorial. El Paso Police Lt. John Schneider, who was a member of the NYPD – 24th Precinct during the attacks, will share his reflections and experience about the incident.

It is recommended that those attending the ceremony arrive early and park on Milton Rd. There will be no parking allowed along San Jose Rd. or Wenda Dr.

WHO:     The El Paso Fire Department

WHAT:    9/11 Memorial Ceremony

WHEN:    September 11, 2018 –  9:00AM

WHERE:  EPFD Station 18 – 7901 San Jose Road

***

EPCC to Hold 9/11 Remembrance

El Paso Community College (EPCC) and local dignitaries will share memories and honor our fallen patriots on the 17th anniversary of that fateful day.

What:                         9/11 Moments of Remembrance: Honoring the Victims and Reflecting on History

Where:                       EPCC Administrative Services Center Building A Auditorium  9050 Viscount Blvd.

When:                        Tuesday, September 11, 2018, 9:00-10:30 a.m.

Who:                          Sam Faraone, Senior Chaplain, El Paso Police Departmen

Steve Edmonds, Deputy Director, Fort Bliss Emergency Services

Sergio Renteria, Captain, El Paso Fire Department

Alex Hernandez, Director, EPCC Human Resources Development

***

Horizon City September 11th Memorial Ceremony

Hosted by Horizon City Fire Department and Horizon City Police Department
9 AM – 10 PM

Horizon City Fire Department HQ –  14151 Nunda Avenue in Horizon City

***

17th Anniversary of 9/11 Hosted by El Paso Texas Flags Across America

8 AM – 10:30 AM  |    9550 Gateway N Blvd

Hosted by El Paso Texas Flags Across America

***

September 11 Commemorative Stair Climb

Military Student Success Center – MSSC at UTEP and Military Student Association at UTEP

5:30 AM – 6:30 AM | UTEP Sun Bowl Stadium

***

Free Museum Admission for First Responders and Their Families

The New Mexico Museum of Space History is honored to declare September 11, 2018, as “First Responders Day” at the museum. All first responders and their families (spouses and children) will be allowed into the museum free beginning at noon. Identification as a first responder is required.

The museum hosts the United We Stand 9.11 commemoration event each year, in conjunction with the Alamogordo Chamber of Commerce and the United We Stand Committee. This year’s event starts off with a new activity, the Memorial Stair Climb Relay organized by the Alamogordo Fire Department.

“This year, September 11 falls on a Tuesday when the museum is normally closed, but we decided to open at noon following the Memorial Stair Climb so that participants could have the opportunity to see the museum while they’re here,” said Museum Executive Director Chris Orwoll.  The museum and theater will be open to the public beginning at noon, first responders and their families will be admitted free to the museum only. “We are very proud to offer first responders free admission as a way of showing our appreciation for their service to our community and country.”

Because the stair climb this year is an inaugural event, there is no charge to enter. Stair climbs similar to this are held across the country, honoring the memory of the fallen fighters and other first responders who died on 9.11.01. Participants climb the equivalent of the 110 stories of the World Trade Center in tribute. The stair climb is open to teams and individuals. Registration and check in begins at 7:30 am on the museum’s patio.

Other activities kick off at 5:30 that evening with a low level F-16 flyover followed by a parade, which starts at the corner of Juniper and Indian Wells and ends at the NMSU-A Science Center Parking lot. From there, activities move to the large upper parking lot at the museum where free hot dogs will be served starting at 6:00. Inside the museum on the first floor, an education program is being presented, showing the sequence of events leading up to the 9.11 tragedy along with a slideshow and historical photo display.

The memorial ceremony will be held in the upper parking lot of the museum beginning at 7:30 pm. The evening’s Memorial Program includes a fire and police turnout ceremony, firetruck lighting, Patriot Guard Flag Line and the symbolic lighting of the twin towers on the museum building. The guest speaker for the evening is Jarrett Koenemund who witnessed the planes hitting the Twin Towers.

All 9.11 activities are free to the public, including admission to the museum for the education event. Public parking is in the lot just above the Tombaugh Building.

The New Mexico Museum of Space History, a Smithsonian Affiliate, is a division of the NM Department of Cultural Affairs. For more information, call 575-437-2840 (toll free 1-877-333-6589) visit the website or like the Facebook page.

Texans in Congress Remember Close Calls and Lives Changed on 9/11

Sixteen years ago, it was a beautiful enough morning that Pete Olson, a staffer in the U.S. Senate, chose to drive from suburban Virginia into work with his Jeep’s top down. Just as the future Sugar Land-based congressman passed the Pentagon, his wife called to tell him a plane had hit one of the World Trade Center buildings.

Instantly, he recalled to her the 1945 incident when a B-25 bomber struck the Empire State Building, and he assumed the crash was a pilot error, medical emergency or weather complication.

He arrived to his job as a military adviser to then-U.S. Sen. Phil Gramm’s office on Capitol Hill to see the second plane hit in lower Manhattan.

He had one thought: “ATTACK!”

Minutes later, a friend called to tell him the Pentagon – that building he passed less than  30 minutes earlier – was now a burst of smoke. Then his chief of staff burst through the door.

“GET OUT! GO HOME!” the boss yelled.

The Pentagon was surely hit and authorities believed that a fourth plane in the sky that morning on Sept. 11, 2001 was headed for either the U.S. Capitol or the White House.

Current and future Texans serving in Congress were in all three of those buildings. They were Republicans and Democrats, and they came here to Washington from every corner of the state.

And yet, they all have shared memories of that frantic morning: they all believed at first the first plane was a freak accident; they remember the smoke plumes emerging from the Pentagon; they remember women running so fast on the pavement that lost high heels scattered the White House and U.S. Capitol grounds; they remember the jammed phone lines; and they remember the bridges into and out of the city closing.

But mostly, they remember the moment when somebody screamed at them “Get out!”

The Pentagon was the lone target hit in the Washington region.

U.S. Rep. Mac Thornberry was there in the building, having breakfast with Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

“I remember him very well receiving a note, so we decided to get out of there, he’s got things to do,” the Clarendon Republican told C-SPAN in 2012.

The future U.S. House Armed Services chairman decided to drive to the Capitol, just in time to receive the news about the second plane and the evacuation order.

Army Lt. Col. Brian Birdwell, a Texas native, was also in the Pentagon that morning. The future state senator was only yards away from where the plane crashed and suffered severe burns.

After the attack on the Pentagon, it was that fourth plane, United Airlines Flight 93, that wreaked further havoc on the city. Even years later, it is unclear whether the U.S. Capitol or the White House was the target of those hijackers.

Young White House staffer Jodey Arrington was a longtime George W. Bush loyalist, going back to the new president’s time at the Texas governor’s mansion.

Arrington, now the Republican congressman from Lubbock, was working in the White House on Sept. 11 tasked with interviewing appointees for high-profile positions in the federal government.

It was in the middle of one of those interviews when a colleague interrupted with the news of the first plane. Arrington turned on the television, but kept the volume low and continued on with the interview. And then he saw the second plane hit.

“It was less than a minute, and my door opens, and it’s a colleague of mine and he says, ‘A second plane hit. They think it’s terrorism. There’s a plane heading for the White House, and we gotta get out!”

“People were running down the hallways screaming, and literally women were taking off their heels and running,” he added of the scene at the White House. “I remember feeling especially insecure … Here we were in the White House complex, and we were resorting to rudimentary protocol for emergency evacuation. There was no alarm.”

The panic was just as frantic down Pennsylvania Avenue at the U.S. Capitol.

Democratic U.S. Reps. Sheila Jackson Lee of Houston and Eddie Bernice Johnson  of Dallas were in a room just off the members’ dining room for a meeting with officials from the Small Business Administration.

Jackson Lee, too, went into the meeting thinking the first plane crash was a minor accident.

“That’s a shame,” she thought. And then nearly everyone’s phones started ringing.

“We had these flip-flop phones. No sophistication at all,” she said.

Annoyed, she and her colleagues were confused and began turning their phones off.

“Somebody snatched open the door and said, ‘We don’t know what’s happening. Get out!’” Jackson Lee recalled.

“All we could see was people running. Shoes off their feet. We were able to see leadership being bodily carried out down the steps to the black SUV because they had to go to the underground,” she said.

Jackson Lee ran with her colleagues across the Capitol grounds to the Library of Congress and was instructed to “hit the ground.”

When her colleague, Johnson, made it outside the U.S. Capitol, she stopped and looked around, absorbing the uproar of people running through the streets and members staring in disbelief at the Pentagon clouds.

Most members live near the U.S. Capitol. They simply walked home.

But much of Washington couldn’t get home because authorities shut down the bridges across the Potomac that took commuters to the suburbs.

Olson had to drive the opposite direction into Maryland to get home. Overhead, the former naval aviator watched an F-16 flying over the National Mall at supersonic, combat speed. He believes now that the pilot was Air Force Lt. Heather “Lucky” Penney, the pilot who had so frantically scrambled her plane she had no ammunition or missiles.

Instead, she streaked across the blue sky on a Kamikaze mission to take down the last hijacked airliner.

That drive home took Olson three hours. A universal blood type, he soon headed to the local donor bank.

“No one was angered when I was pushed in front of everyone because of my blood type,” he said.

But while most people were trying to get out of the city, U.S. Rep. Will Hurd, R-Helotes, was trying to get into the city.

Hurd, who was then completing his first year as a CIA officer, remembered feeling a pervasive sense of unease within the agency leading up to the attacks.

“I remember the months leading up to 9/11, where folks in the counterterrorism center were not going home. They were sleeping in their cars,” he said. “Folks that had been dealing with this issue were concerned that something major was going to happen.”

“There was a nervousness throughout the entire building,” he added.

After the second plane hit, the government building he was in also received an evacuation order.

Hurd actually lived inside of Washington proper. He ended up ditching his car in northern Virginia and jogged back to the city.

Hurd said “it’s hard to imagine” a day that had more impact on his career. “It was something that changed the focus of the CIA, it changed the focus of my career. I was supposed to go on a training element dealing with Venezuela.”

“At 2. a.m that night, I got the phone call – report to the basement of the new headquarters building of the CIA.” He was now on the counter-terrorism beat and his focus was Afghanistan. Soon, he was involved in the hunt for Osama bin Laden.

For Olson, the realization that the world had changed came late that night.

“My last memory was standing in my 17-month-old son Grant’s bedroom, looking at him sleeping peacefully without knowing that his life had changed forever,” Olson wrote to the Tribune in an email.

[It was] re-enforced when [I] heard a jet engine loitering high above my house,” he added. “Since all commercial planes were grounded, only military fighters on combat air patrol were flying.”

“[I was] stunned that the terrorists had taken the war into Grant’s bedroom.”

Read related Tribune coverage:

  • Last year, state Sen. Brian Birdwell finally got the change to thank the man who helped him outside the Pentagon on 9/11. [Full story]
  • Last week, Congress approved sending $15 billion in aid toward those affected by Hurricane Harvey’s destruction. Four Texas Republicans voted against the measure. [Full story]

Author: ABBY LIVINGSTON – The Texas Tribune

Socorro ISD Schools Commemorate Patriot Day with Various Events

Socorro Independent School District schools will pay tribute and remember the victims and survivors of 9/11 by hosting commemorative rallies and showing their patriotism at school events.

Chester E. Jordan Elementary students, faculty, staff, and community members will observe Patriot Day with a special event at9 a.m., Sept. 9 in the school’s playground area. The Lions will remember the victims and heroes of 9/11 featuring special guests from the El Paso Border Patrol, Partners in Education, military forces, and Superintendent Dr. José Espinoza. The event also will feature student and teacher performances.

The Eastlake High School Student Council will be hosting a 9/11 Commemoration Ceremony at 8 a.m. Sept. 9 at the flag pole in front of the building. There will be a performance from the band and the NJROTC will present colors. The student council and principal Gilbert Martinez will give comments. Students, faculty, and staff are being asked to wear white in remembrance of all those who have been impacted by the events of 9/11.

Socorro High School will have its commemorative event at 7:30 a.m. Sept. 9 at the school’s flag pole. The event will feature student performances by the choir and band. The Bulldogs will have a special guest from the El Paso Fire Department. All students will receive a flag and a balloon.

Vista Del Sol Elementary will have its event at 8 a.m. Sept. 12 by the flag in front of the school. Students, faculty and staff will gather around the flag to recite the pledge and sing patriotic songs. A veteran will read a poem about Patriot Day and students will have a parade around the school at the end of the ceremony.

Montwood High School will have its 9/11 observance rally at 8 a.m. Sept. 12 at the flag pole.

What:             Commemorative events in observance of 9/11

Who:               Team SISD students, faculty, staff, parents, and community members

Where:           Various schools in Team SISD. See schedule below.

When:             Sept. 9 and Sept. 12, 2016

UTEP to Honor 9/11 Heroes, Victims with Commemorative Ceremony Friday

The University of Texas at El Paso will host a commemoration ceremony to reflect on the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The event also will pay tribute to the heroes and survivors of the attacks and the 2,996 people who lost their lives.

The ceremony will include a tribute to the American flag, presentation of colors, a special performance by the UTEP Concert Chorale and remarks from guest speaker Lt. John Schneider, a former NYPD officer who was one of the first responders on Sept. 11, 2001.

The unveiling and opening reception for the exhibition “We Will Never Forget” will take place in the Union Gallery, on the second floor of Union Building East, immediately following the ceremony. The exhibit will showcase photos, magazine and news clippings from Sept. 11, 2001; a hand-stitched American flag created by UTEP students with the names of those who died; and a 9/11 memory wall reflecting on where the UTEP community was when the attacks took place. The exhibit will be open to the public daily, weekends included, until Friday, Sept. 23.

Additionally, in recognition of the estimated 36,000 units of blood donated to the New York Blood Center following the 9/11 attacks, United Blood Services will hold a blood drive from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 9 on University Avenue between the Union and Liberal Arts buildings. United Blood Services will provide all donors with a free 9/11 commemorative shirt.

The ceremony, gallery exhibition and reception are free and open to the public. Members of the media, veterans, members of the military and representatives from area public service organizations are encouraged to attend.

The event is organized by UTEP’s Office of Student Life in collaboration with the Military Student Success Center, ROTC Color Guard, Police Department, Military Science Department, and Student Engagement and Leadership Center.

Parking is available for off-campus guests in the Sun Bowl Parking Garage.

What: We Will Never Forget, 9/11 Commemoration Ceremony

When: 9 a.m., Friday, Sept. 9

Where: Centennial Plaza, UTEP Campus

For Paris, and for all Civilization, a real war must be fought

As we approach what should be the season of great joy, family togetherness and peace, it pains me to write this column. My heart aches for all the loss in Paris; but my head fears the larger losses looming.

There was a brief period of time in my life when war was a game. We joyfully played soldiers vs Nazis, gleefully using the old helmet my Grandfather brought back from his stint in Europe.  I must have been about 7 or 8, but never thought to ask him how he got the helmet home, or what he did to get the helmet.

He would watch us, sticks for guns, replaying the landing at Normandy, Battle of the Bulge, the push to Berlin. He would smile, but there was something behind it. An unease.

As I got older, and I asked, his stories of battle and what he witnessed came in bursts; as we rocked on the swing in front of his Tornillo home or in the quiet times, riding in his truck back from a semi truck repair run.  But they were always prefaced with the following warning: I’m telling you these [stories] for you, and your kids and for everyone else who will one day forget what we did.

The story of the just-completed carnage of Omaha Beach as his huge  6-by-6 Dodge army truck -with a .50 caliber gun mounted above the cab – sloshed ashore, the tide and beach stained red.

Or the story of the odd, low hum as he and his buddies ate lunch in a field outside of St. Lo, a hum that grew louder and shook the ground and rocked the truck, forcing them to stop eating and gaze skyward: a clear French sky now populated with hundreds of  B-17’s heading east, carrying millions of pounds of bombs destined for cities they never heard of, about to be laid to waste – but knowing each city destroyed brought them one step closer to victory and home.

Or the story of having to share socks with buddies, as the temperature dropped in the Winter of ’44, and seeing Nazis in full winter gear – but dead none-the-less, counting each one as a victory as they marched toward Berlin.

Then, along the tidy, wide freeways of Germany, rumors of factories where people were marched in, used up and then killed by the Nazis. His simple upbringing could not fathom anyone intentionally killing whole families, but he knew the evil that they had done in the past, so why not that as well.

And the story of one day, being ordered around a German city; a city they clearly saw the skyline of – like seeing El Paso from the road in Clint as he once said – and the next day seeing nothing but endless columns of smoke, and smelling what they were sure was not a bbq. But it was all on the way to victory.

And on that day of Victory in Europe, there was a weariness among his friends, because the fight was not over. Rumors of a ‘super invasion’ of Japan, and of everyone mobilizing over the next few months. Of all the bullets they dodged, most knew this next phase of the war would be far deadlier, but it had to be done.  Preparations were underway.

And then the fantastic story, a fancy rumor – dreamed up by some bored Captain to tease his unit he thought – of a single bomb that wiped out some city in Japan. And then another. and then Victory.  A victory that was hard fought, and documented, and reluctantly shared with his young grandson.

 I’m telling you these [stories] for you, and your kids and for everyone else who will one day forget what we did.

But we did. Pundits even got comfortable enough to question the need for weapons used to end World War 2. And I knew, deep down, that we were in for another sucker punch. Little did I know, that sucker punch would turn into nearly a decade and a half of weak-kneed waffling and excuse making, at the expense of thousands of our fighting men and women.

I know my grandfather was a practical man, he’d seen humans at their worst, and what other humans would do to ignore that behavior. He hoped no one would forget that lesson: When our way of life – the entire civilized world’s life – would be threatened with domination or extinction; but he was also prepared for what happens when evil shows itself, and people make excuses.

9/11.  Our generation’s Pearl Harbor. Only telecast live for all to see. And my grandfather lived long enough to see it and knew: This was war and we weren’t remotely ready.

It woke us up, but only for so long. President said no sacrifices were needed by us, the American people. Go buy a house and another car, we’ll run the ‘war’ from here. So we bought, spent and lived through a burst bubble,  while our best and brightest were shipped off to what was called a war.

Weapons were used, code names given and reports filed from the field.  Two Presidents made sure of it. Coffins were returned, soldiers with injuries brought home, and the battles raged on.

And since no one wants to ‘lose’ a war, we will pull out and all will be well. How do we know? Saddam is dead, so is Bin Laden. Seems like victory.

So the cities and towns where we declared victory and left – where our men and women gave their blood and bodies – were quickly turned into terrorist training camps.  Christians and other ‘non-believers’ were beheaded and anyone else killed, hung, shot, pushed off buildings or gassed for disagreeing, or for being a woman, or homosexual, or what ever their twisted version of religion said was incorrect.

Men, women, children all wiped from the earth because they did not believe as they were told to. And not in secret either. A quick internet search will bring up these atrocities as easily as a movie from Netflix. Yet we did – do – nothing. It could be 1943, but we’ve forgotten 1943.

 I’m telling you these [stories] for you, and your kids and for everyone else who will one day forget what we did.

We’ve given them a name. We know where they operate. We’ve even used drones to kill selected members of their command structure. Because this is war now, not like in the past. We have to make sure to minimize all casualties at all costs. We don’t want to make ‘them’ madder.

And now Paris joins the long list of bloodied world cities. And we are faced with the simplest  of questions: If this is war, when will we begin fighting it as the enemy has dictated we must?

At what point are we going to wake up, look up from our iPhones, Black Friday inserts and inane coffee cup protests and understand we are in yet another world war and there will be no negotiating peace or settlements.

We do not believe as they do, and therefore we will not be allowed to live. Regardless of country, color, race or religion we are the ones who are ‘in the wrong’ and all will be killed as they set up their caliphate.

In a French cafe, in a NYC high rise office building, in a London tour bus or South Pacific hotel, walking down the street in Tel Aviv or attending a family member’s funeral in Baghdad -they will not stop until we’re all gone.

We don’t need to defend New York, London or Paris from this evil, we don’t need additional guards at the baggage check in, or to send out missives to see if they’ll meet with us – we need to take the fight to them and crush them where they live and breathe.

And we certainly do not need to blame the tens of thousands of refugees who fled this barbaric group, as they are with us now and are targets just as we are.

Time to wake up, open up the history books and see exactly how the Greatest Generation got it done. There were no half-measures, or selected strikes against enemy camps.

It was all-out war. A war of survival. A war for the soul of civilization. As one columnist for the New York Times put it: To Save Paris, Defeat ISIS.

And once we sweep their misguided ash from the scorched ground, we will rebuild every town, bring back the families they ran out and make sure they understand the world community is here for them.

Don’t think it will work? Seems like the last time we all stood together and applied corrective action, a couple of countries learned their lesson well. And now they’re part of the civilized world.

We need to this sooner, and not later.

For every day that passes, what happened in Paris will again become a memory, and we will divert ourselves in our iPhones, coffee-cup protests, and internet memes. The enemy will be emboldened once again, and another city will suffer the same fate.

 I’m telling you these [stories] for you, and your kids and for everyone else who will one day forget what we did.

Courtesy: USA TODAY
Courtesy: USA TODAY
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