Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Reflections on 9/11 - By the King of the Row

The following is Dick Verlasky's reflections on 9/11. Sorry it's a few days late. Thanks, brother, for taking your own advice and "stand[ing] up and express[ing] the truth that needs to be told." You're right; that's what it's gonna take...

"It is impossible today not to think back upon September 11, 2001. What sets this year apart from last year, the year before and so on, is beyond me. Except that it's a mid-term election year and the Bush Administration returns to 9-11 like the most afflicted obsessive-compulsive to something that has worked for them in the past. Like most folks I suspect, I remember vividly where I was on 9-11.

I had just finished a trial two days earlier and was muddling through the trial lawyers' version of post partum depression when my wife called me on her cell phone. She's a fourth grade teacher. She called to tell me that something terrible had happened and that I should turn on the TV. I did and sat spellbound watching CNN disbelieving what I was seeing.

I did not know anyone who died in the World Trade Towers that day. I had been there on several occasions, once with my wife, and dutifully took many photographs from the observation decks. I even stayed at the Vista View International Hotel whose 42 stories at the base of the South Tower looked miniscule compared to the two towers. From the bar you could watch airplanes on final descent into Newark.

I had sloshed down a couple of beers at the beer garden on the main floor under the trade towers while watching the evening's commuters walking briskly like automatons across this level and then down to the trains which took them home to the suburbs. Their faces were without emotion, their gaze set upon their feet, yet, like ants, they avoided colliding with those automatons coming from the opposite direction. It was unique, indeed fascinating to me, no doubt related to the fact that I came from a small town which, with considerable luck, would never reach the automaton stage.

In the afternoon I began to cry. It wasn't because I thought I might know someone who had died, it was because I knew what was about to happen. Only by the greatest luck, I did not end up going to Vietnam when I was young. I had resigned myself to that fate. I had qualified to be a Navy pilot, but it was a five year commitment. I decided I would take two years via the draft which meant 13 months as a grunt in the bush. But I lucked out and didn't get the call.

I cried because I remember Vietnam. I recall who made the money . . . and I recall who paid the price. Middle aged folks had well paying jobs, fat cats got fatter. You people paid the cost, mostly the poor paid the cost. I knew that this same fear would lead to the same results. A small percentage of Americans would die and become disabled while the so called military-industrial complex made the money. Blood for cash!! It happened then, I knew it was coming again. And this is why I cried.

Yesterday I listened to Vice President Cheney claiming that the Bush Administration has done "a hellofva job" because there hasn't been a new attack upon the US. It is like claiming that the Bush Administration is responsible for all of the trees that have fallen silently in the forest with no one to hear them fall. Today I suffered through an interview on CNN with Karen Hughes, point woman for bullshit. She spoke nothing of the truth; she spoke only of further misinformation in an effort to keep the Rs in power.

How shameful is that? Almost 50% of people polled recently continue to believe that Saddam Hussein attacked America on 9-11. We are doomed with people that dumb, with people that dumb who decide elections in this country. It is hopeless unless educated people stand up and express the truth that needs to be told."

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