Unforgettable United Flight 93

When they got up that morning twent years ago, the very last thing that the 33 passengers and the seven crew of United Flight 93 expected was to be engaged in a life and death struggle to retake an airliner that was headed to Washington DC as a terrorist missile.    All they expected the day to bring was a hum drum flight from Newark to San Francisco.  Just ordinary people living their lives.  Their occupations included pilot, first officer, flight attendant, an environmental lawyer, the owner of a public relations firm,  university students, a senior vice president of a medical development company, a sales representative for Good Housekeeping magazine, a manager of a US Wildlife animal refuge, an arborist, an account manager for a corporation, an ironworker, retirees, a computer programmer, a computer engineer, a lobbyist for the disabled, a real estate agent,  an executive vice president of a corporation and a free lance medical writer.  They were wives, husbands, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters, all with unique histories and lives, with little in common except that they happened to be on board Flight 93 when the world changed.

The plane took off at 8:42 AM Eastern Time.  Four terrorists had boarded amidst the other 33 passengers.  The terrorists began to hijack the plane at 9:28 AM, soon after both the hijacked airliners had struck the Twin Towers in New York City, and just brief minutes before a fourth airliner was hijacked in Washington and slammed into the Pentagon.  At 9:28:17 AM a member of the cockpit crew shouted “Mayday! Mayday!” over the radio, with sounds of violence in the background.  35 seconds later someone in the cockpit shouted over the radio, “Mayday!  Get out of here!  Get out of here!” (more…)

Published in: on September 11, 2021 at 5:30 am  Comments (2)  
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Dies Irae

DIES IRAE

Day of wrath, day that will dissolve the world into burning coals, as David bore witness with the Sibyl.

How great a tremor is to be, when the judge is to come briskly shattering every (grave).

A trumpet sounding an astonishing sound through the tombs of the region drives all (men) before the throne.

Death will be stunned and (so) will Nature, when arises (man) the creature responding to the One judging.

The written book will be brought forth, in which the whole (record of evidence) is contained whence the world is to be judged.

Therefore when the Judge shall sit, whatever lay hidden will appear; nothing unavenged will remain.

O Thou, God of Majesty, nourishing brilliance of the Trinity, join us with the Blessed.

What am I the wretch then to say? what patron I to beseech? when scarcely the just (man) be secure.

King of tremendous Majesty, who saves those-to-be-saved free, save me, Fount of piety.

Remember, faithful Jesus, because I am the cause of your journey: do not lose me on that day.

Thou has sat down as one wearied seeking me, Thou has redeemed (me) having suffered the Cross: so much labor let it not be lost.

Just judge of the avenging-punishment, work the gift of the remission (of sins) before the Day of the Reckoning.

I groan, as the accused: my face grows red from (my) fault: spare (this) supplicant, O God.

O Thou, God of Majesty, nourishing brilliance of the Trinity, join us with the Blessed.

Thou who forgave Mary [the sinful woman], and favorably heard the (good) thief, hast also given me hope.

My prayers are not worthy, but do Thou, Good (God), deal kindly lest I burn in perennial fire.

Among the sheep offer (me) a place and from the goats sequester me, placing (me) at (Thy) right hand.

After the accursed have been silenced, given up to the bitter flames, call me with the blest.

Kneeling and bowed down I pray, My heart contrite as ashes: Do Thou {, my End,} care for my end.

That sorrowful day, on which will arise from the buring coals Man accused to be judged: therefore, O God, do Thou spare him.

Faithful Lord Jesus, grant them rest. Amen.

O Thou, God of Majesty, nourishing brilliance of the Trinity, join us with the Blessed. Amen.

Published in: on September 11, 2021 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Dies Irae  
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Never Forget

Published in: on September 11, 2021 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Never Forget  
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Twenty Years Since 9-11

 

Hard to believe it has been two decades, or will be in one day.  My sons were just going on ten and my daughter was six.  My surviving son celebrated his thirtieth birthday this week and my formerly baby girl is now twenty-six and a librarian.

Distance helps in understanding a large historical event.  Two decades is a lot in the span of a human life time, but it isn’t much in the span of history.  When we were observing the hundredth anniversary of World War I, I thought we were still too close to that event to make sense of it.  9-11 is not in the league of World War I as to huge historical events, but twenty years is a much shorter period than a century.

Having said that I think we can draw some conclusions now:

  1. Unity-the unity we saw after 9-11 was fleeting indeed and the process of fragmentation of the American people, an ongoing process since the sixties of the last century, soon got underway again.  It still is a memory I cherish, especially the cars of ordinary people flying American flags.
  2. Terrorism in the US-Nothing on the scale of 9-11 has happened since 9-11.  I think the credit for this owes more to the difficulty of terrorists carrying off such an event, rather than the often absurd precautions we have taken, although the willingness of passengers on air liners to act swiftly against other passengers posing a threat has been helpful on occasion.
  3. War on Terror-This slogan of the Bush administration, and eagerly trumpeted by the media, was unfortunate.  Terrorism is as old as civilization and comes in endless varieties.  The American people were not interested in fighting terrorism in general, but rather the specific terrorists and supporting groups who had carried out 9-11.  The slogan was a distraction from the main task at hand.
  4. Afghan War-In toppling the Taliban government which had supported and sheltered Al Qaeda, the Afghan incursion in 2001-2002 was a brilliant military success;  as a nation building project from 2002-2021 it was a colossal, and utterly foreseeable, failure.  This will have ramifications echoing down the next two decades.
  5. Iraq War-Afghanistan was the good war and the Iraq War was the bad war in the eyes of critics of the Bush administration.  Ironically the Iraq War was the success.  Saddam Hussein is pushing up weeds, we devastated the terrorist networks that came to fight against us in Iraq, and the Iraqi government appears stable.  Mission accomplished, at least as much as a mission can be accomplished in the Middle East.
  6. Al Qaeda War-Bin Laden has long since become fish chow.  We decimated his organization.  It still exists but is a shadow of its former self.
  7. American troops-Superb overall, as they have always been throughout our often stormy history.  Their top leadership, largely thanks to the malign influence of the Obama administration, saw warriors replaced by political time servers.  The military has always had some politicians in uniform at the top, but the ceaseless drive of Obama to neuter our Generals and Admirals as a source of potential opposition to him has born ill fruit.  America’s finest deserves better.
  8. Counter-insurgency-Became all the rage as we fought our wars in the sandbox.  China, the coming threat, will require a doctrinal pivot, and I see little proof that our military leadership has even begun to think of the next war.
  9. Our 9-11 Dead-We need to continue to pray for them, to remember them and to strive to make our nation and the world better.  They were the first casualties in a war that reminded the idiots among us that history did not end with the cold war.
  10. Me-I am still consumed with the rage I felt 20 years ago.  Attempting to treat 9-11 as a historical event and to analyze it dispassionately remains difficult for me.  Maybe that is as it should be.  People who experience history perhaps are not meant to engage in the type of study future historians will give to the event.  One reason why History is always  a discipline with limitations.  I always recall the saying, “You really had to be there.” when trying to understand any historical event.  That is certainly case for that day of death for 3000 of our murdered fellow Americans.

Published in: on September 10, 2021 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Twenty Years Since 9-11  
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The Justice of God

 

Told by Donald R. McClarey at a meeting of the Dwight Rotary Club on September 12, 2001.

 

A thousand years ago a Caliph ruled an Eastern kingdom.  He was highly intelligent, unremittingly cruel and a man who raised evil to an art form.  Each year he would select a victim from among the wisest of his kingdom who would be ordered to give a speech on something that was always true.  The Caliph then would refute the argument and have the speaker beaten to death.  He had as his Vizier a man of conscience who did his best to thwart, or alleviate, the evil of his master.  For years it amused the Caliph to allow his Vizier to attempt to bring good from his evil, but finally he tired of this sport and ordered the Vizier to give a speech revealing that which was always true.  The Vizier was almost grateful that his time had come and now he could speak his mind.

“What is always true Sire?  Why the Justice of God of course.  It is ever the shield of the poor and weak, the oppressed and those who have no hope but God.  Tyrants tremble before it.  In this world or the next God always redresses the scales of justice and rewards good and punishes evil.  Scoffers deny that the Justice of God exists, but it is as real as the air we breathe, the love of a parent for a child, and the moral sense that lives within each of our souls, no matter our sins.  God is not mocked and His Justice is his ever present sword and shield that he wields in the affairs of Men.”

For 30 minutes the Vizier spoke and the face of the Caliph grew redder and redder, radiating hate and rage.  When the Vizier finished, the Caliph raised his right arm to begin his refutation when he was felled by a mortal stroke.  His Vizier came to his side seeking to aid him, though he knew that saving the Caliph’s life would end his own.  When  he saw that the Caliph was swiftly dying, he sent him into the next world with this observation:  “The Justice of God Sire, it is frequently delayed, it is never denied.”

Published in: on September 12, 2019 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on The Justice of God  
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Unforgettable United Flight 93

When they got up that morning eighteen  years ago, the very last thing that the 33 passengers and the seven crew of United Flight 93 expected was to be engaged in a life and death struggle to retake an airliner that was headed to Washington DC as a terrorist missile.    All they expected the day to bring was a hum drum flight from Newark to San Francisco.  Just ordinary people living their lives.  Their occupations included pilot, first officer, flight attendant, an environmental lawyer, the owner of a public relations firm,  university students, a senior vice president of a medical development company, a sales representative for Good Housekeeping magazine, a manager of a US Wildlife animal refuge, an arborist, an account manager for a corporation, an ironworker, retirees, a computer programmer, a computer engineer, a lobbyist for the disabled, a real estate agent,  an executive vice president of a corporation and a free lance medical writer.  They were wives, husbands, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters, all with unique histories and lives, with little in common except that they happened to be on board Flight 93 when the world changed.

The plane took off at 8:42 AM Eastern Time.  Four terrorists had boarded amidst the other 33 passengers.  The terrorists began to hijack the plane at 9:28 AM, soon after both the hijacked airliners had struck the Twin Towers in New York City, and just brief minutes before a fourth airliner was hijacked in Washington and slammed into the Pentagon.  At 9:28:17 AM a member of the cockpit crew shouted “Mayday! Mayday!” over the radio, with sounds of violence in the background.  35 seconds later someone in the cockpit shouted over the radio, “Mayday!  Get out of here!  Get out of here!” (more…)

Published in: on September 11, 2019 at 5:30 am  Comments (2)  
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Star-Spangled Banner at Buckingham Palace

 

 

Queen Elizabeth after 9-11, breaking with royal protocol, ordered the playing of The Star Spangled Banner at Buckingham Palace:

 

Published in: on September 9, 2019 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Star-Spangled Banner at Buckingham Palace  
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Remember

Published in: on September 11, 2014 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Remember  
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Too American

 

Firemen Raising the Flag

 

 

 

Yonder are the Hessians. They were bought for seven pounds and tenpence a man.  Are you worth more? Prove it. Tonight the American flag floats from yonder hill  or Molly Stark sleeps a widow!

 

General John Stark prior to the battle of Bennington, August 16, 1777

(Originally posted at The American Catholic.  I thought the history mavens of Almost Chosen People might be interested in it.)

 

 

The above photo epitomized the American spirit in the wake of the 9-11 attacks.  Who could object to it?

This iconic picture of firefighters raising the stars and stripes in the rubble of Ground Zero was nearly excluded from the 9/11 Memorial Museum — because it was “rah-rah” American, a new book says.

Michael Shulan, the museum’s creative director, was among staffers who considered the Tom Franklin photograph too kitschy and “rah-rah America,” according to “Battle for Ground Zero” (St. Martin’s Press) by Elizabeth Greenspan, out next month.

“I really believe that the way America will look best, the way we can really do best, is to not be Americans so vigilantly and so vehemently,” Shulan said. (more…)

Published in: on August 6, 2013 at 5:30 am  Comments (4)  
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Unforgettable Flight 93

When they got up that morning eleven years ago the very last thing that the 33 passengers and the seven crew of United Flight 93 expected was to be engaged in a life and death struggle to retake an airliner that was headed to Washington DC as a terrorist missile.    All they expected the day to bring was a hum drum flight from Newark to San Francisco.  Just ordinary people living their lives.  Their occupations included pilot, first officer, flight attendant, an environmental lawyer, the owner of a public relations firm,  university students, a senior vice president of a medical development company, a sales representative for Good Housekeeping magazine, a manager of a US Wildlife animal refuge, an arborist, an account manager for a corporation, an ironworker, retirees, a computer programmer, a computer engineer, a lobbyist for the disabled, a real estate agent,  an executive vice president of a corporation and a free lance medical writer.  They were wives, husbands, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters, all with unique histories and lives, with little in common except that they happened to be on board Flight 93 when the world changed.

The plane took off at 8:42 AM Eastern Time.  Four terrorists had boarded amidst the other 33 passengers.  The terrorists began to hijack the plane at 9:28 AM, soon after both the hijacked airliners had struck the Twin Towers in New York City, and just brief minutes before a fourth airliner was hijacked in Washington and slammed into the Pentagon.  At 9:28:17 AM a member of the cockpit crew shouted “Mayday! Mayday!” over the radio, with sounds of violence in the background.  35 seconds later someone in the cockpit shouted over the radio, “Mayday!  Get out of here!  Get out of here!” (more…)

Published in: on September 11, 2012 at 5:30 am  Comments (2)  
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