Living in Society

Day After Patriot Day

Box of matches from The World Trade Center, Summer 1980.

I have two main memories of the World Trade Center in Manhattan. The first is from 1980, of having a post-Broadway show dessert and drink at Windows on the World located on the 107th floor. The second was viewing it on television after the first plane hit the north tower on Sept. 11, 2001. The attacks began while I was at the Moline airport where I had been scheduled to fly to Philadelphia. All flights were cancelled so I returned to my office in Eldridge, Iowa where televisions were tuned to the breaking news.

Sunday was a day to remember those who lost loved ones on Sept. 11, 2001. May we never forget their lives and legacy.

President George W. Bush, on whose watch the 9/11 attacks occurred, was among the worst of our recent presidents.

My memory of George W. Bush is from Philadelphia, shortly after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. I was on Interstate 95 heading into the Bartram Gardens area where I managed a trucking fleet. Bush’s motorcade was on the other side of the interstate heading back to the airport to return to Washington. In that moment, whatever hope I had Bush would pull the country together after the terrorist attacks was dashed. He made the trip early in the morning and finished by 10 a.m. It was a publicity event that had little impact on the national interest. It was unclear to me why he would spend so much money for what must have been a one to two hour publicity event. I remember other things didn’t make sense during the Bush administration. More than this, his invasion of Iraq made the least sense and proved to be a costly error. That is, unless one was a contractor who profited from the debacle.

Presidential Coat Rack – Republicans, Paul Deaton, Nov. 17, 2019.

The deceased and injured deserve our thanks, memories and support. Support for public servants injured during the attack and its aftermath, those who worked at ground zero after the carnage, was slow in coming from the Congress. We enjoy our symbolism and stories of valor and just work, yet beyond yesterday’s remembrance, events fade further into the cesspool of memory that is contemporary America.

I’d like to remember The World Trade Center as that place we visited in 1980. The realities of the War on Terror and killings of innocents in the Iraq War won’t let me. Instead, we have maudlin remembrances of politicians and a vague notion that “Patriot Day” means something.

On the day after we are better prepared to see who we are as an American society. The view is much worse than it was on the 107th floor of The World Trade Center.