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Opinion | Charles Burdick: It was called one of America’s darkest days

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Burdick Charles

Charles F. Burdick.

It’s been said that Sept. 11, 2001 was one of America’s darkest days. I remember it starting as a normal day for me that morning. I had some repairs to make on the outside of one of my sheds.

After breakfast I immediately started my repair job. It was around 10 a.m. when my wife called me and said that something was happening on TV that I would want to see. I immediately went into the house. My wife told me that two planes had flew into the Twin Towers in New York City.

At this point it had been determined that the plane that flew into the Twin Towers was not an accident but intentional, because a second plane had hit it also. My repairs ended for the day, as my attention became focused and glued to the TV the rest of the day, as I watched the tragedy unfold.

It was determined later that United Flight 11 had hit the north tower first, followed shortly thereafter by United Flight 175. My first thought was another Pearl Harbor.

From memory, I could hear the words of President Roosevelt announcing the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor saying, “A day that will live in infamy.”

I was 9 years old at that time but always remembered that day. My mother had our battery-operated radio on as President Roosevelt made the announcement of the attack. She started crying and I'll never forgot that.

Within an hour, if I recall correctly, American Airlines Flight 77 Hit the Pentagon in Virginia. My first impulse was anger. Anger then turned to fear, as I wondered, "Where else this could be happening in our country?" Had it not been for some heroic passengers on still another plane, United Flight 93, who overtook the terrorists, and brought it down in a field near Shanksville, Pa., killing all aboard. Many lives were saved as it was believed this plane was headed for Washington D.C. At this point I felt like the world was at war.

I recall another thing that came to mind that day was the likeness of this, to the Kamikaze attack on U.S. Navy Ships in World War 11. These pilots were willing to die for their cause, (not country) whatever that cause might have been, by flying their bomb filled planes into the American ships. To the Japanese this salvation was Kamikaze, “divine wind.” The pilots that flew the planes into the Twin Towers apparently felt the same, in their own way. Many things were being recalled to mind at that time. I remember thinking, "What kind of people would commit such a barbarous act against innocent people" I had no answer.

While sitting there watching the Tower’s crumbling to earth, Hitler’s persecution of the Jewish People, was another of my thoughts. While carried out in a different way, thousands of lives were taken by this insane monster. What started out as a normal day, has now turned out to be a sad one, in reality and thought.

The master mind of this heinous and cowardly act on the Twin Towers, was (Osama) Bin Laden. After this barbaric act, he disappeared into the Mountains of Afghanistan. Through good intelligence work, after a decade, he was captured and killed by the U. S. Navy Seals. His death brought some justice to all that lost family and friends. His body was dumped unceremoniously in an unknown spot in the ocean.

Let us never forget this murdering of over 2,000 innocent people, and the 20-year war that followed in Afghanistan, that took many more American lives.

Based on what we know about Bin Laden, may he rot in hell.

Charles F. Burdick is a lifelong resident of Grand Tower. After graduating from high school, he joined the U.S. Navy and then went on to a 42-year Maritime career including 35 years as Master Pilot. He has been retired for 27 years and enjoys local history and writing poetry. 

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