You probably will have plenty of photos of the Twin Towers attacks today.
With a time machine that could look back like a telescope in reverse to this day on Sept. 11, 2001, we would gather a little context on what it happening today, Sept. 11, 2019.
At 7:30 a.m. today, a tribute to all those who lost their lives in the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon was set by the flag pole in front of Administration at Antelope Valley College. The Antelope Valley College Veterans Club organizes it and AVC President Ed Knudson, a Cold War veteran, supports it, wholeheartedly.
By 7:30 a.m. West Coast Time on Sept. 11, 2001, both towers of the World Trade Center would have been hit by the jetliners that were hijacked by Al Qaeda terrorists under the direction of their strategist of murder,
Osama bin Laden.
By 9 a.m., first responders, Los Angeles County Fire Department, Sheriff’s Department, California Highway Patrol and others were set to gather by the American Heroes Monument, the one for first responders at the Antelope
Solemn tributes are in the works for the firefighters and police in New York City who ran toward danger and up into the towers, to fight an inferno and attempt to rescue thousands of evacuating refugees from the Twin Towers.
Eighteen years ago, that would have been noon on the East Coast, and most, if not all, of the 343 New York firefighters and the 37 police officers of the New York-New Jersey Port Authority would be dead.
They, in their numbers, would mostly be buried and vanish in the rubble of the collapsed towers, among nearly 3,000 victims. It is only their memories that live.
On Sept. 12, 2001, our Valley Press edition showed the burning towers and one word — INFAMY, a reference to the Pearl Harbor attack of Dec. 7, 1941.
Excluding the 19 Al Qaeda hijackers — who mostly came from Saudi Arabia — the death toll from the Twin Towers, the Pentagon and Flight 93 numbered 2,977 — the largest attack ever on American soil.
Around noon this Sept. 11, at the Hellenic Center, the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce was set to host Brig. Gen. John E. “Dragon” Teichert, commander of the 412th Test Wing and he would be speaking about 9/11 and its impact on all of us the past 18 years.
To the extent, that BG Teichert oversees much of the test activity having to do with everything the Air Force flies in order to keep us safe, his remarks were likely to be on point.
It is, I think, probably a good idea that the Taliban did not get the equivalent of a state visit to Camp David this past weekend. The Taliban, did, after all, give refuge and succor to all the terrorists who unleashed the 9/11 terror attacks, and the Taliban continues to do its best, and sometimes succeeds, at killing American troops who are in Afghanistan because of the 9/11 terror attacks. Some of those troops killed since 9/11 were the flower of youth of our
By noon, which would have been 3 p.m. on Sept. 11, 2001, most of the dead were dead.
Apart from the three local events I mention here, there are countless other remembrances. The most poignant, and solemn, must be at Ground Zero in New York, in the halls of the Pentagon where more than 90 were killed, and in a field in Pennsylvania, where the valiant passengers of Flight 93 fought for control of the United airliner and plunged it into the ground before it could achieve its target in our nation’s capital.
Remembrance ceremonies matter for just that reason — that we do not forget. Some enemies become friends and some remain enemies. We forget who they are at our peril.
Some of the remembering can be done right in the here
If 9/11 achieved only one thing, it might be that it galvanized respect for our first responders, troops and our veterans who served in earlier eras and conflicts.
We have multitudes of volunteers who participate in activities that support our first responders, troops and veterans.
This Sunday, one of the most fun, and altruistic, is set for noon-4 p.m. at Poncitlan Square, 38315 9th Street E. in Palmdale. It is the Vets4Veterans 10th Annual Car and Motorcycle Show. The no-cost event, with a dazzling array of classic American street rods, vintage autos and tricked-up motorcycles, is emblematic of the spirit of American enterprise, initiative and fun.
There will be the anticipated food trucks, trophies, raffle prizes and family-friendly fun. The group’s 10th anniversary is a testament to the work done by Tom Hilzendeger, a Vietnam combat veteran honored this year by Sen. Scott Wilk as “Veteran Of the Year.” But Tom would be first to tell you it is not him; it is the volunteers.
The organization works hard to raise funds and the funds go to support veterans transitioning from service, some attending Antelope Valley College. While the Vets4Veterans is strictly local, the all-volunteer non-profit supports veterans of all eras; much of the group’s fundraising goes to help veterans of the Post 9/11 wars we have been fighting in Afghanistan, Iraq, across Africa and Asia.
The Vets4Veterans Car Show is accompanied by a Poker Run that begins earlier in the morning, with registration at www.avvets4veterans.org
Prizes for the winning hands will be awarded, with $500 to the top winner. A week later, on Sept. 22, Vets4Veterans is partnering with Homes4Families with a day of outdoor fun, a $25 and up fundraiser, to help build and sustain homes for local veterans returned from the wars we have fought.
The 9/11 attacks were a catastrophe. The wars that followed were, and are, a bewildering agony. If nothing else, we can do work to defend the ones who rushed in to defend us.
Dennis Anderson is a licensed clinical social worker at High Desert Medical Group. As a past editor for the Valley Press, he embedded with National Guard troops from the Antelope Valley in the Iraq War. He works on veterans and community mental health issues.