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Saturday, September 10, 2016

A 9/11 remembrance

Now that it has been 15 years since the terrorist attacks on 9/11/2001, it seems like a good time to revisit this passage from page 316 of  The 9/11 Commission Report:
The National Institute of Standards and Technology has provided a preliminary estimation that between 16,400 and 18,800 civilians were in the WTC complex as of 8:46 A.M. on September 11.  At most 2,152 individuals died at the WTC complex who were not (1) fire or police first responders, (2) security or fire safety personnel of the WTC or individual companies, (3) volunteer civilians who ran to the WTC after the planes' impact to help others, or (4) on the two planes that crashed into the Twin Towers.  Out of this total number of fatalities, we can account for the workplace location of 2,502 individuals, or 95.35 percent.  Of this number, 1,942 or 94.94 percent either worked or were supposed to attend a meeting at or above the respective impact zones of the Twin Towers; only 110, or 5.36 percent of those who died, worked below the impact zone.  While a given person's office location at the WTC does not definitively indicate where that individual died that morning or whether he or she could have evacuated, these data strongly suggest that the evacuation was a success for civilians below the impact zone. (italics mine)
Everyone can remember 9/11 as they choose.  If the funereal reading of names and ringing of bells is one's preference, that is fine.  I prefer to think of the incredible efforts of those WTC rescuers, professional and civilian alike, who accomplished a task under nearly impossible conditions on 9/11 and were able to save nearly everyone that could possibly be saved from the towers.  These rescuers were heroes not just because they died helping their fellow Americans, but because they succeeded at their mission.

Unfortunately, 9/11/2016 will likely see the spectacle of some NFL players refusing to stand during the playing of the national anthem.  This self-indulgent protest, led by a one-dimensional, injury-prone, second-string quarterback, makes the accomplishments of Jackie Robinson seem almost unbelievable.  This man, who bore so much both on and off the field while still being able to play baseball at the highest level (career slash line: .311/.409/.474), appears superhuman in comparison to the anthem sitters.  When any NFL player sits during the national anthem, it will make me appreciate the real heroism of Jackie Robinson even more.

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