An American tragedy of immense proportions reaches the heartland

By Bob Mckee, former Managing Editor
Posted 9/11/20

Chilling images caught on live television Tuesday morning. Shots of billowing smoke from one tower of the World Trade Center in New York City after it had been hit by an airplane.

Speculation …

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An American tragedy of immense proportions reaches the heartland

Posted

Chilling images caught on live television Tuesday morning. Shots of billowing smoke from one tower of the World Trade Center in New York City after it had been hit by an airplane.

Speculation about how a pilot, on a beautiful clear morning, could possibly err badly enough to crash into one of the 110-story twin towers. Then an unbelievable image of a second large commercial aircraft banking into the other tower and the resulting fireball.

All speculation about an accident ended and was immediately replaced by more speculation about terrorist acts. Then a third plane crashed into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. No doubt now that it was a well-coordinated, concerted effort of terrorism against the American people. 

America, it seemed was under attack. Indeed, the images from New York looked like the images we have all become used to seeing broadcast from third-world countries involved in war. Huge, billowing columns of smoke on the skyline of the country's largest city.

Some time later, both damaged towers of the World Trade Center collapsed, 110 stories each now reduced to huge piles street level rubble.

The attacks came just as many workers, an estimated 40,000, were arriving or already at their jobs in the World Trade Center. It will be days, perhaps weeks or longer, before the number of dead is known. News accounts late Tuesday estimated at least 10,000 may have died in the terrorist attack.

Rightly, all of America was in shock from the sheer magnitude and audacity of the attacks, still numb as newcasts continued to bring new revelations about the acts of terrorism that involved at least four hijacked airplanes. 

Besides the tragic and pointless loss of thousands of lives, the attacks may forever change the way Americans view their lives — and their security.

*This story originally ran in the Sept. 12, 2001 edition of The Republican.

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