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Do we remember? Must we remember?

The Hamilton Spectator
Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Do you still get nervous when Sept. 11 approaches?
This year will mark the 10th anniversary of the morning that we all remember what we were doing and where we were when we heard the news a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center.

It was 8:46 a.m. on that Tuesday morning when the first plane hit the first tower. At the time there was no raw footage of a craft actually hitting the tower; that would come later, over and over again.

As live cameras watched, no reporter was quick to speculate at the time this was anything more than a terrible accident.
That was about to change. With the world focused on the first strike and resulting burning building, we all watched in horror on live TV as a second passenger jet plowed into the second tower at 9:03 a.m.

It was a scene out of a Hollywood movie, happening live, right before our eyes. There was now little doubt this was not an accident.
This horror wouldn’t stop. By 9:37 a.m. terror struck again, when an American Airlines jet with 59 on board was crashed into the Pentagon.
A fourth jet, which was seized at the same time as the previous three, was crashed into a field near Shanksville, Pa. Flight recorders told the story of a heroic crew and passengers who tried to storm the cockpit to regain control of the aircraft.

The passengers on United Airlines Flight 93 had learned through cabin cellphones what had happened to other airliners and decided to try to save their own lives and those on the ground. When the hijackers realized they might lose control of the plane, one ordered another to roll the jet and intentionally crash it. Lives were saved by those actions as it is believed their target was to be either the Capitol or White House.

All U.S. domestic aircraft were grounded. Those in the air were ordered to land immediately at the closest facility. International flights were turned back or sent to airports in Mexico or Canada.
By the time the day’s terrorism ended, almost 3,000 lives were lost in the first attack on continental U.S. soil.

In the minutes and hours that followed the attacks, images began to surface of the destruction.
People were literally falling out of the sky, jumping from the fiery infernos. As the twin towers tumbled, clouds of smoke and debris engulfed city streets and anyone in their path like a tsunami.

Panicked morning workers ran from the downtown core like branded cattle, covering their faces with anything they could to avoid breathing in the deadly fog.
The images of the planes hitting their targets were replayed over and over until we had seen enough. Finally networks agreed to stop showing the points of impact out of respect for those lost in the attack.

Oddly enough, those images, which have rarely been played in the 10 years since 9/11, are now making their way back into mainstream media.
TV critic Bill Brioux ( agrees, sarcastically saying, “The 9/11 Olympics have begun and will run all week.”
But are we ready to forget? Are we ready to view those impact images again? Is 10 years the benchmark that suggests there’s been enough respect for the dead, that this is now a historic event and should be viewed as such?

I have a hard time believing we’ll consume this event now as if viewing the Hindenburg tragedy. The wound is easily reopened after watching this event unfold again on the internet, let alone mainstream TV.

Yet a survey released last week by Harris Decima reveals almost 40 per cent of respondents feel safer flying today then before 9/11 and a majority feel just as safe as they did before the attacks. Two thirds say they are flying just as much as they did pre-9/11 with 10 per cent flying more, proving security measures put in place have restored the public’s sense of safety.

However, not enough for me to take my mind off the fact our 23-year-old niece will be flying this Sept. 11.

he Scott Thompson Show airs weekdays noon — 3 p.m. on News/Talk 900 CHML.