Understanding the Law
September 16, 2011
Remembering 9/11

Although ten years have elapsed, it seems like yesterday that this tragedy descended on so many hapless victims on Tuesday, the eleventh day of September, 2001. It would never cease to shock the world that an act of this magnitude could be inflicted on human kind by other human beings. We know there are some horrors associated with wars, but not a deliberate and planned attack constituting an ostentatious display that caused the death of thousands of victims.{{more}} This was indeed a blatant disrespect for human life, dignity and privacy. Not many human beings would want to wish this nightmare on their own enemies. It was a well-planned display that constituted a world spectacle.

Memorial ceremony

On Sunday, September 11, 2011, Americans and those who suffered losses remembered the dead with a huge ceremony at the Memorial that was erected where the twin towers once stood, a place that is widely known today as Ground zero. President Barack Obama and the previous President George W. Bush participated in the solemn ceremony, where the names of all those who died were called. The monument with cascading waterfalls carries the names of those who died in New York, the Pentagon and Pennsylvania, etched in bronze.

That fateful Tuesday

It was a fateful day for the passengers who boarded four airlines at different locations that early morning of 9/11. Little did those unsuspecting passengers know that their aircraft were to be used as missiles against civilians. The acts stunned the world. I had left my office for a brief moment to go to the bank, when a friend met me and told me. I still did not grasp the enormity of the event until I saw the shocking scenes from a television in the show window of a business place.

Acts of the hijackers

When the attack started, many thought that a light aircraft had crashed into the World Trade Center, but the attack came from American Airline Flight 11, a commercial flight that was taken over by hijackers. They deliberately crashed the aircraft into the North Tower of the World Trade Center. Ten minutes later, United Airlines Flight 175 crashed into the South Tower, and another American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon at Arlington, Virginia. The fourth aircraft, American Airline Flight 93 crashed near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. From all accounts, the passengers had received information about the crashes that had taken place, and realizing that the hijackers were heading for Washington, perhaps with the objective of attacking the White House, they fought back. The plane failed to reach its intended target.

Death and destruction

The cataclysmic events at the World Trade Centre caused the death not only of Americans, but nationals from other countries. Britain recorded the second largest number of fatalities, and Trinidad and Tobago recorded some 14 deaths. Over 2,983 persons met their death, but many escaped from the burning buildings. According to one report, as many as 100,000 persons could be in the building at anyone time, but at the time of the attack there could have been an estimated 14,000 persons in the buildings. Fire fighters were the first responders, and many of them suffered along with emergency workers in the catastrophe. There were many humanitarian acts, and it is sad that many of these first responders later suffered respiratory and other related diseases from the dust inhaled. Violence begets anger, which is passed on to another generation.

It is my wish that there would not be another carnage and that there would be peace on this earth.

Ada Johnson is a solicitor and barrister-at-law.
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