Interesting story I’ve never shared before… like everyone that day, I was in a state of shock. In my lifetime it was the first time we felt under attack. I remember it like it was yesterday, where I was in Symphonic Winds with Mr. Albinder. We were playing “Where Never Lark or Eagle Flew”, a somewhat eerie song for that moment. We continued to play the song, over and over and over, even after the Principal made the announcements on the loud-speaker.
Going home that day, I became even more hooked on news (I was a huge CNN Crossfire/Tucker Carlson fanboy as early as middle school… don’t ask) to learn as much as I could about “what the **** just happened”, and equally important, “why the **** someone would do that”. I was amazed on how much I didn’t know about international politics, events, etc.. I also grew a sense of nationalism, watching propaganda push agendas while individuals were mere puppets — brainwashed without any realization. Watching the extremism on the other side and realizing the lengths they would go to carry out their “terror” mission — being promised they would get a field of virgins on the other side as martyrs. I suddenly had a feeling of purpose.
At Pace University, as a result of all this, I took several classes on terrorism, the war on terrorism, and too-many-that-I-care-to-count classes on middle east religion. I took classes on homeland security, law, counter-intelligence,… you get the gist.
It all led to the moment that made me accept the Department of Defense civilian job that was ‘offered’ to me 5 years later. I ended up doing 7 official years as a DoD-’civilian’, traveling to the middle east, supporting many allies, briefing in the Pentagon. Most of my work since then remains focused on Public Sector, specifically Dept. of Defense, Intel Community, and our men and women in blue. Nothing is more satisfying to this day than supporting those who put everything on the line to protect us, foreign and domestic. In the front lines as well as those behind the scenes who are often rarely thanked.
In current times, never forget those who rushed to the WTC knowing what they were up against. Never forget those who lost their lives defending this country. Never forget those on AA 11 or United 175. Never forget those who prevented United 93 from hitting its target. Never forget those who woke up, went to work in the WTC, who all they wanted to do is return to their family and put food on the table.
We aren’t perfect — no one is. Propaganda is on all sides, brain-washing is happening everywhere, even in the United States. We are watching politics get to such extremes it’s hard to like anyone in it. As a result, our views are so polar opposite, its hard to even have a civil conversation.
Let’s remember we are all human. We all have unconscious bias. We all have imperfections. This issue isn’t just a USA one, or a middle-east one, but global. We need to return to the days where everyone has good intentions, where people are coming from a place of understanding. Where we can talk to our neighbor about issues, hear counter-arguments, without leading to an angry fight at the end.
I just listened to “Where Never Lark or Eagle Flew” for the first time in 20 years with with wife Meghan last night. It still gives me the goosebumps…
I’ve yet to revisit the WTC since the 9/11 events.
Never forget. Never surrender. God bless the USA and her allies.