Richard Tocci

Richard Tocci
Just when you thought it was safe, I show up...


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Sunday, September 13, 2009

Reflections on September 11

Eight years ago I walked into work as I had the previous four and a half years, and was interrupted during my morning routine of sitting down, booting up, reading email, and getting my first mug of coffee by Mark Heslip. He said "Hey, did you hear? An airplane crashed into the World Trade Center."

And that was the beginning of the most incredible, horrible day of my life.

Eight years later, I am sure to watch a show about the time line, or if a station plays recorded, uninterrupted coverage I'll watch that, and I'll remember the fear I felt that day. I'll remember how, later that day, I watched neighbors bring ammunition and guns into their houses, and thinking at the time that anarchy might break out at a moments notice if anything happened in Texas.

I like those emails that go around from time to time that talk about how college kids are so young, and to prove it, the email lists items, events, or technologies that these children only know from pawnshops, history books, old magazines, or junk in the basement. So, on that concept, I'd like to put a few things into perspective:

  • Fliss, my second ex-wife, was not my wife at the time. We were dating, and she was on vacation in England, visiting her family and friends.
  • Alex was not born yet.
  • Chris, a 21 year old college junior now, was 13 and in 8th grade.
  • Amanda was 11 years old and she was living with me at the time.
  • Blu-ray DVD were still under development.
  • Windows XP had not officially shipped to consumers.

When I commemorate September 11, I always use a phrase like "We must never forget". I believe that today as strongly as I did last year, and the year before, and all the way back to 2002 on the first anniversary. I wonder if I would have been as brave as some of the people caught in this tragedy, and I'm thankful I didn't have to find out.

While remaining vigilante to threats against this country, we must also remember to remain civil to those that share national heritage with those that attacked us, because many people from the Middle East have relocated to The United States to start over and give their families better lives. That's not to say that wrong doers should not be caught and punished, but blind discrimination for no reason is wrong.

I also believe that, in order to prevent future attacks, a variety of methods can be used on different people that would have pertinent information. This includes torture. If we catch one bad guy, and we get information from that one bad guy that saves the lives of hundreds or thousands of American citizens, and torture was used, then so be it. I am not so naive as to think that these methods are not used when the CIA is told not to use them -- they are used. My father told me not to use his drill when I was a kid, but when he wasn't around, I used it.

We need to remember those lives lost on September 11, 2001, we need to remember the lessons learned, and we need to remember to remain vigilante.

One last thing. I have a lot of friends in the military, and know a few kids that plan to go into the military. They sacrifice their lives and their families sacrifice so these soldiers can serve their country. Stay safe.

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