Re­call­ing the day we were all united in grief

The Calvert Recorder - - Community Forum -

It’s not hy­per­bole to sug­gest that the his­tory of Amer­i­can se­cu­rity can be di­vided into two pe­ri­ods: be­fore 9/11 and af­ter 9/11.

On Mon­day, South­ern Mary­lan­ders will join the na­tion as we re­mem­ber the 2,996 lives lost in the terror at­tacks of Sept. 11, 2001, in­clud­ing 343 fire­fight­ers and 72 law en­force­ment of­fi­cers. More than 6,000 others were in­jured. It was the dead­li­est day in U.S. his­tory for first re­spon­ders. And in many ways, it changed us all for­ever.

For chil­dren, un­less you’re a ju­nior or se­nior in high school to­day, this tragedy un­folded be­fore you were born. It’s like hear­ing tales of Pearl Har­bor. But many of us who are adults can re­call ex­actly where we were 16 years ago, on that de­light­fully tem­per­ate Tues­day morn­ing un­der a cloud­less, cerulean-blue sky. A beau­ti­ful morn­ing that turned hor­rific be­fore Calvert had its sec­ond cup of cof­fee.

That aw­ful day, ter­ror­ist hi­jack­ers de­lib­er­ately crashed two com­mer­cial jets into the Twin Tow­ers of the World Trade Cen­ter in New York, and another into the Pen­tagon. A hand­ful of brave pas­sen­gers stormed the cock­pit of a fourth air­liner and fought the ter­ror­ists, ul­ti­mately crash­ing the jet into a field in western Penn­syl­va­nia be­fore it could turn into another guided mis­sile.

The first crash into the north tower, when the news broke, seemed like a bizarre, freak ac­ci­dent. How could air traf­fic con­trol go so wrong? Was the pi­lot ill? What could have hap­pened? When the sec­ond air­liner slammed the south tower, sadly, sickly, we knew it was some­thing else. Some­thing ne­far­i­ous and evil.

It was in the days be­fore so­cial me­dia, so for those not al­ready tuned in and un­able to look away from the tele­vi­sion that day, there were phone calls telling us to turn on the news. We wit­nessed the shock and hor­ror of the video and pho­tos of the at­tack and the sub­se­quent col­lapse of the Twin Tow­ers. We made ef­forts to reach friends and loved ones feared to be in harm’s way, all the while try­ing to make sense of what had hap­pened.

Then came the news that hit South­ern Maryland most directly. Another jet­liner — Amer­i­can Air­lines Flight 77 — had crashed into the Pen­tagon, killing nine peo­ple from this area among the 125 who per­ished.

Kris Romeo Bishun­dat, 23, of Wal­dorf was a Navy petty of­fi­cer as­signed to the Pen­tagon just three months be­fore the at­tack.

Donna Marie Bowen, 42, of Wal­dorf was a Ver­i­zon tele­phone worker as­signed to an Army bud­get­ing of­fice.

Sharon S. Carver, 38, of Wal­dorf was a civil­ian ac­coun­tant for the Army.

An­gela M. Houtz, 27, of La Plata was a civil­ian an­a­lyst with the Of­fice of Naval In­tel­li­gence.

Shel­ley A. Mar­shall, 37, of Mar­bury was a bud­get an­a­lyst with the De­fense In­tel­li­gence Agency.

Gerard P. “Jerry” Mo­ran Jr., 39, of Up­per Marl­boro was an en­gi­neer­ing con­trac­tor with the Navy and softball and pow­er­lift­ing coach at St. Mary’s Ryken High School.

Marvin Roger Woods, 57, of Great Mills was a re­tired Navy com­mu­ni­ca­tions chief who worked as a civil­ian com­mu­ni­ca­tions spe­cial­ist at the Pen­tagon.

John D. Yam­nicky Sr., 71, of Wal­dorf was a re­tired Navy test pi­lot who was a pas­sen­ger aboard the air­liner.

Ed­mond Young Jr., 22, of Owings was a civil­ian tech­ni­cian who was as­sist­ing a gen­eral with a com­puter prob­lem when the air­liner struck the building.

We re­mem­ber them, and we honor them.

Please take a mo­ment Mon­day to re­call the five men and four women from South­ern Maryland who lost their lives that day, among so many others, as well as the sac­ri­fice and brav­ery of fire­fight­ers and law en­force­ment of­fi­cers, and reg­u­lar civil­ians.

Also, take a mo­ment to re­flect on the na­tional unity and re­solve that de­vel­oped 16 years ago in the wake of the worst terror at­tack on Amer­i­can soil. Re­mem­ber in these times of strife and un­rest that we are, and al­ways have been, more alike than we are dif­fer­ent. Per­haps we need that re­as­sur­ance now more than ever.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.