9/11: Worst day, finest hour

Millions of first-time voters this November were toddlers when Washington and New York were hit on Sept. 11, 2001. Senior Correspondent Mike Causey says they've...

Two months from today, four of my grandchildren will be among millions of first-time-ever presidential voters. A very big deal for lots of us, for lots of reasons.

Annie will vote in New York City. Jack will hit the polls near Seattle. Celia and Caroline (twins) will vote in the swing state of Virginia. Although all four are geniuses, they don’t know all that much about the 9/11 attacks in 2001 on New York City and the Pentagon. Annie was eight, Jack was three and the twins were four that day when the planes hit the Twin Towers Now they are in college or graduated and hunting for a job. And about to vote.

Most first-time-this-time voters don’t know know there was a time when could buy a ticket without any ID and jump on an airplane. Without taking your shoes off. Or going through security barriers. With drink in hand. They grew up in the now standard if-you-see-something-say-something era. But for many of their parents 9/11 was their Pearl Harbor, their JFK and MLK Jr. assassination shock.

I’m not going to bore my grandchildren with tales of what I was doing on 9/11. Okay, if you insist I’ll tell you: I was new to the job here at Federal News Radio. Several of us were on the top floor of the WTOP/WFED building in a training class. A woman who worked for another firm in the building came in to ask us what was happening. Of course we didn’t know, but being news types we found out fast. First one building, then the other, then the Pentagon was hit. We could see the smoke from our offices in the Cleveland Park section of the city.

One of my sons caught a bus at the Pentagon just before the airplane slammed into it. Another son was at Dulles Airport, which was the take-off point for the hijacked Pentagon airplane. A friend of mine was due to take that particular flight, American 77. But because of a change in business plans she left on Monday, one day before the same flight was hijacked and rammed into the Pentagon. The fact that “only” 184 passengers and Pentagon workers were killed is a testimony to the thousands of people — workers, military, passersby and local police and fire units who ran toward, and into, the burning building. Like in New York City.

Lots of people, in Washington and New York City have their own stories. And there was the fourth aircraft, which was headed for Washington — the Capitol, White House — that was targeted to be shot down by Air Force jets. Before they could do it passengers in the plane took over and crashed it Pennsylvania.

So where were you that Tuesday, 15 years ago? What would (will) you tell your kids, or their kids, about how that day changed the world, this country and you? We’d like to do a tribute based on what real people, regardless of where they were, felt and saw that day. Let us know at: mcausey@federalnewsradio.com.

Nearly Useless Factoid

By Jory Heckman

Armadillos like to swim, and they are very good at it. They can hold their breath for four-to-six minutes at a time.

Source: Armadillo Online

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