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GAIL WHITE We'll never forget that courage, unity prevailed



Published: Wed, September 11, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



No one will ever forget where they were on this day last year.

No one will ever forget hearing of a plane crashing into the north tower of the World Trade Center.

About fifteen minutes later, when the second plane hit the south tower, the horror set in.

America was under attack.

No one will ever forget how they felt, watching helplessly, as the Pentagon was hit and the plane went down near Somerset, Pa.

Then, when it seemed nothing could be more horrendous than what we had just experienced, the towers came crashing to the ground.

I am still in shock over the towers. It seems too surreal to have happened. But it did happen, one year ago today. Even now, the sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach returns as I remember this day.

What's hard to figure

I will never understand the kind of hatred that brought on these attacks. It is a hatred that is beyond reason and comprehension.

This hatred was bred into each hijacker in a distorted, twisted fashion. They were led to believe they would be heroes. Truly, they were the agents of the devil himself.

My heart still breaks when I think of all the firefighters, police officers and emergency workers who perished that day. They put their lives on the line for their fellow man and paid the ultimate price.

I have had nightmares about the people caught in the towers, the Pentagon and the planes.

I can't forget the story of a young woman, rushing down the tower steps, talking to her father on her cell phone. "Go down! Go down!" he was telling her. Then, through his phone, he heard the tower come down.

We all know the story of the news reporter, on the plane headed for the Pentagon, calling her husband to say goodbye. She knew her fate. It was the same as the two planes that had hit the towers earlier that morning.

Bouncing back

I get goose bumps when I think of the plane that crashed in Somerset County, Pa. The brave men and women who fought with the hijackers came to the same fate as the first three planes that day. But their bravery saved the lives of hundreds -- perhaps thousands -- on the ground.

I have not been able to watch or read about the children born after 9/11 whose fathers died in the tragedy. The injustice of their loss is too much for me to bear.

Yet, those children represent hope and a new birth in America.

This "axis of evil" calculated and schemed to infiltrate our airways. And they succeeded.

They planned and targeted their marks on our cities. And it worked.

When those hijackers hit our buildings and killed our citizens, they thought they had beaten us.

When the towers fell to the ground, they thought they had crushed us.

But what these evil-doers did not count on -- what their hate-filled minds had no way to anticipate -- was the power of the American spirit.

Instead of giving up and falling apart, Americans came together and stood as one.

The hate mongers thought they had crushed our tallest towers.

We showed them!

But the greatest American towers are the ones in our hearts.

They tried to render us immobile by breeding fear.

But, a nation united knows no fear.

They thought their hatred would ruin us.

But love is stronger than hate.

I wish I could have seen hatred's face when we supported our countrymen by flocking to blood banks and providing every form of aid.

I wish I could have observed hatred's surprise when we pulled out our flags and waved them with pride.

I wish I could have witnessed hatred's shock when its crushing blow was overshadowed by our overwhelming sense of prevailing.

Never have I been so devastated for my neighbor, and so proud to be a neighbor.

Never have I grieved so deeply, yet with such resolve.

I pray I never will again.

God bless America!

gwhite@vindy.com




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