The Mercury (Pottstown, PA)

Survivors of Sept. 11 victims need answers


The 9/11 families have waited through four presidents for transparen­t informatio­n to be released.

For most Americans, Sept. 11, 2001, is a date that calls us back to where we were at that time all those years ago. It is something we remember when the topic arises and a memory we tuck away sorrowfull­y like a sad relic of a lost love the rest of the time.

The people who did lose people they loved that day can’t do that.

For the mothers and fathers, husbands and wives, daughters and sons, sisters and brothers of the people who died in the terrorist attacks in New York City, Washington and Shanksvill­e cannot pack it away.

The images that capture our attention when news footage rolls of the towers falling or the Pentagon in flames or the wreckage in a Somerset County field are places that, in some ways, they never leave.

In part, that is because there are still so many questions to which they want answers.

There are things that are known. How many died. How many hijackers took the planes from New York and Boston. Where they trained to fly.

But, for the families, there are still significan­t holes. For one, they want deeper answers about Saudi Arabia.

The U.S. quickly identified Osama bin Laden as the force behind the al-Qaida attacks. Bin Laden was a Saudi whose father was the wealthiest person in the kingdom who wasn’t a member of the royal family, with a $7 billion constructi­on fortune.

Of the 19 hijackers that day, 15 were Saudi citizens. While the 9/11 Commission Report “found no evidence that the Saudi government as an institutio­n” funded the al-Qaida mission, the full

Though the Saudi government has been exonerated, the full extent of the nation’s possible role in Sept. 11 has yet to be told.

story of possible Saudi involvemen­t in 9/11 has never been told.

The United States government and the Saudis have been intertwine­d for nearly a century, mainly through mutual interests in the Arab nation’s vast oil reserves.

Some presidents — such as George H.W. and George W. Bush and Donald Trump — have had business relationsh­ips with the royals. While testing the limits of American realpoliti­k, the kingdom has remained central to U.S. policy in the combustibl­e Mideast region.

Still, the 9/11 families have waited through four presidents for answers, and President Joe Biden promised on the campaign trail to produce them.

Now, 1,800 family members have signed a request that Biden not attend 20th anniversar­y memorial events if transparen­t informatio­n isn’t released.

“It is something that many of us have been keeping our eyes on over the years, because we want the truth,” said Gordon Felt, who lost his brother Edward on Flight 93. “We want to know what happened that day. As for demands and what the president is going to do or not do, all I can hope is for him (Biden) to do what is right.”

Felt did not sign the letter. His mother and Edward’s widow did.

Is it unfortunat­e that the search for answers has come to such an ultimatum, especially just over a month before the memorial events? Yes. It is, however, understand­able given both the scope of the loss on one side and the tangled nest of national security and political ramificati­ons on the other.

The families carry a burden they cannot lay down. If there are answers the government has that can lighten it, that should happen.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States