Sometimes I wonder how I ever lived without cable TV. Or live streaming TV, for that matter.
Since their inception, I’ve become hooked on numerous channels, but have paid close attention to two — Smithsonian and History — this week.
I guess it’s because we’re on the eve of 9/11.
Who can forget that horrific day 20 years ago when terrorists aboard four hijacked planes changed the culture of America? Three successfully completed their mission and a group of heroic men stopped the fourth from destroying the US Capitol.
Many people reminisce about what they were doing that day.
I, myself, was at work.
We were nearing deadline when an AP Newsbreak said that a plane had crashed into one of the twin towers in central New York. A co-worker who was born and raised in the Big Apple, immediately ran down the hallway and out onto the back dock.
He feverishly attempted to call his friends.
The lines were dead.
Some of us gathered around the TV in the newsroom and minutes later witnessed the second plane crash into the other tower.
Hello, George Orwell.
A Democratic socialist, he penned the novel “1984” after Stalinist Russia and Nazi Germany. Mass surveillance that lasted more than a decade led to a perpetual war and the eventual death of Osama Bin Laden.
Could this have been a live version of his science fiction work?
Countless lives were lost that fateful morning.
The message was clear.
But we, as a nation, answered with resiliency.
Brave men from the New York Fire Department and New York Police Department worked feverishly to save lives in both towers.
Only when the metal softened under the intense heat from the planes’ flames, did the towers collapse and trap those first responders — along with those they attempted to rescue — in a pile of twisted metal and rubble.
Ground Zero resembled a scene from a horror movie.
Only this was real life.
Watching the documentaries on the Smithsonian and History channels still brings tears to my eyes. To hear the stories from loved ones who lost family members is heart breaking and tragic.
A cowardly act changed how we think and live as Americans.
It taught us to move more cautiously and become wary of those who walk around us. It also created a stronger love for mankind as we supported those who endured losses in New York, our nation’s capital and Pennsylvania.
9/11 is a date that lives in infamy.
May we never forget that life is precious.
Tomorrow is never promised.
Rudy Coggins is assistant editor of the Mount Olive Tribune. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.