Monday, September 11, 2017

An American Tragedy 9/11/2001

I wrote this the day after the twin towers went down.

World Trade Center, Pentagon, Attacked by Hijacked Planes

By Peter Gorman

NEW YORK CITY—It’s Wednesday afternoon, September 12.
Acrid smoke is making it difficult to breathe here in
the High Times offices on East 19th Street in
Manhattan. The smoke is from the fires still burning
further downtown, where the twin towers of the World
Trade Center collapsed in a heap of rubble and dust
and human suffering yesterday morning, after two
hijacked planes headed from Boston and DC to Los
Angeles were flown at nearly full speed, and with full
fuel tanks, into them.
It is too early yet for blame to have been assigned
for the monstrous attack, though several pundits have
tried to place it at the feet of Osama bin Laden, the
notorious terrorist who was trained and used by our
own CIA during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.
Others have pointed the finger at Islamic
fundamentalists, particularly Palestinians, and former
CIA Director James Woolsey has spoken of "state
sponsorship" being responsible, with Iraq as the
probable state at fault.
At this point in New York, Boston, and Washington, the
blame almost doesn’t matter yet. Those responsible
will be caught and dealt with in a frightening manner,
make no mistake. The US and its allies will exact a
toll far greater from those who did the damage than
the damage done. But here, now, they haven’t even
begun to count the bodies yet. There were more than
200 killed aboard the four hijacked planes involved in
the attacks—three successful and one unsuccessful—on
the American symbols of corporate and military might.
An estimated 200 firefighters, who were the first to
arrive on the scene in New York, even before the first
tower collapsed, are thought to have died while trying
to evacuate that tower’s tenants. Dozens of police and
emergency medical workers are presumed dead as well.
Here in New York, they are not faceless. Two of the
police on the scene who survived were my older brother
and his son. The same is true of the families of the
dead in the hijacked planes. They are our brothers,
sisters, sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, cousins
and friends, as are those who died in the horrible
disaster at the Pentagon.
I have fought them on political grounds, as I have
railed against the corporate greed of America
represented by the Twin Towers, but I have never for a
moment wished them harm. One of my friends who worked
at the Twin Towers lost at least 600 coworkers and
friends yesterday. He and a handful of others from his
firm survived by the happenstance of going to work
late on the day someone decided that the symbolic
destruction of the towers was of greater value than
the lives of those who earned their rent money there.
In all, the death toll will certainly reach into the
There will be time to talk about the reasons for this
immense tragedy. There will be time to assign blame.
There will even be time for exacting retribution to
ensure this will not be perpetrated again. But for
now, it is a time of mourning. It is a time to rally
around loved ones and for thanking whatever god you
believe in that you and yours were not on those
planes, were not at work in the Pentagon or those
towers, were not assigned the job of rescuing those
trapped inside when they collapsed. Now it is only
time to find and bury the dead and speed them on their
—September 12, 2001

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