By SUE PASCOE
Editor, Circling the News
The phone rang around 6:30 a.m. I was still in bed. From the living room, I could hear the sounds from the television set. That meant that one of my three kids (who were 10, 8 and 5) had turned it on to watch “Dragon Tales.”
The caller was my sister. She asked, “Is John flying?” A pilot, he had returned to LAX the night before and was sleeping next to me. I said, “No” and asked “Why?”
“Turn on the television,” she said.
I went out to the living room and amid protests about changing the channel from PBS to a news station, we saw an airplane slam into one of the World Trade Center buildings. Over the next few hours, the screen repeatedly showed two airplanes slamming into the two towers, and later the Pentagon, and then we learned about the passengers who forced their plane to crash in western Pennsylvania before the terrorists could reach their target in Washington, D.C.
The horror continued to unfold as we watched first responders make their way into the Twin Towers trying to save people, only to see that effort resulting in hundreds of more deaths.
Over the next few days, as more and more video played and was replayed, the shock of knowing that almost 3,000 Americans had been murdered seemed unfathomable. Innocent people had been targeted strictly because they were Americans.
Everything seemed to change.
This year is the 20th anniversary of 9/11, and the airlines are remembering American Airlines Flight 11, American Airlines Flight 77, United Airlines Flight 93 and United Airlines Flight 75 — and also the first responders.
Although not a national holiday, September 11 has been designated as Patriot Day with flags flown at half-mast. A moment of silence is held beginning at 8:46 Eastern Daylight time, which is when the first plane, American Airlines Flight 11, struck the North Tower.
Since 2008, Pepperdine students in Malibu have placed a flag for each innocent person who was killed by terrorists who valued dogma more than life. The display on the hillside above PCH stays up through September 26 and is quite impressive.
This year, American Legion Auxiliary Post 283 is placing flags on the Palisades Village Green to honor all those killed. Although there is not enough room for nearly 3,000 flags, 300 flags (each one representing 100 victims) will be placed on the small private triangular park, starting Friday evening through Sunday. Auxiliary members, with help from local Scouts, will place the flags.
Village Green Board members approved the use of the Green for this memorial, in support of the pledge “Always Remember.”
I took my daughter to visit the memorial at Ground Zero in New York City. When I saw the walls etched with names and the water flowing over the sides into the large hole, I started crying. I could felt the loss of life, the loss of families, fathers, mothers, sons, daughters. The sadness was overwhelming.
On the 9/11 Memorial site, in telling people how to explain the tragedy to children, they write: “Emphasize Hope.
“Terrorism exposes us to the worst in people. But we often hear stories of wonderful, compassionate, and heroic deeds that occur during or after such an attack. Help your children recognize how their own compassion can prevent future acts of intolerance and violence by reminding them to express their ideas respectfully and to treat people who are different from themselves with kindness.”
This is why we must “Always Remember 9/11.” In the face of horror that routinely sees atrocities committed by human beings against other human beings, it’s important for our children to know that bad things do exist, but they have the power to fight against these evils.