The fellow at the desk next to mine was on the phone with floor personnel at the exchange on the lower floors of the World Trade Center. The floor clerk told my friend he heard something that sounded like an explosion and needed to get off the phone to go see what it was. It was the first plane hitting the building. In our office we lit up every news source and tv we had to see if there was any mention of an explosion. Just minutes later Mark Haines of CNBC broke an interview and asked "is that smoke coming out of the WTC?
The camera moved to a shot of the scene and soon after the second plane hit. I feel a hole in the pit of my stomach to this day when I think of it.
Glenn Reynolds has an article on the subject today and I borrow the comment below from his article.
And here’s a passage from Lee Harris’s Civilization And Its Enemies.
Forgetfulness occurs when those who have been long inured to civilized order can no longer remember a time in which they had to wonder whether their crops would grow to maturity without being stolen or their children sold into slavery by a victorious foe.
They forget that in time of danger, in the face of the Enemy, they must trust and confide in each other, or perish.
They forget, in short, that there has ever been a category of human experience called the Enemy. And that, before 9/11, was what had happened to us. The very concept of the Enemy had been banished from our moral and political vocabulary. An enemy was just a friend we hadn’t done enough for — yet. Or perhaps there had been a misunderstanding, or an oversight on our part — something that we could correct. And this means that that our first task is that we must try to grasp what the concept of the Enemy really means.
The Enemy is someone who is willing to die in order to kill you. And while it is true that the Enemy always hates us for a reason — it is his reason, and not ours.
Never Forget. Never Forgive.