The September 11, 2001 World Trade Centre Disaster in New York – By Hubert Williams

The 9-11 Tragedy in New York City – By Hubert Williams

(On Tuesday, September 11, 2001, like hundreds of millions  worldwide, I watched in awe at the dramatic scenes unfolding on the television screen. Our anguish was common. The impact of this incredible disaster was to become more personal. My AA flight scheduled for September 12th, out of Barbados to New York’s JFK International Airport, was cancelled, like so many other flights across America and around the Globe.

One of my sisters, Mrs. Walterine  “Wendy” Sears, was halfway bound to New York from London where she resides when the British Airways flight turned around for its return to Heathrow Airport; and another sister, Mrs. Frances “Jean” Griffith, who held a manager’s position with the huge American Insurance Group (AIG) in a neighbouring skycraper, was among the dust-covered, panicked thousands running wildly from the Manhattan disaster zone towards the relative safety of the Brooklyn Bridge.     

Family members were gathering in New York for a big party on September 12 to celebrate the birthday of the youngest sibling, Mrs. Sylvia Jackman-Singh. For me, the truly unforgettable scenes that day were those of innocent people trapped up high and jumping from the burning skyscrapers.

Four days afterwards, on the first New York-bound AA Flight 1384 out of Barbados’ Grantley Adams International Airport, I did the initial draft of the following tribute, in honour of those who jumped, to express my belief that all who jumped would not have done so out of fear, or expecting to survive. The draft was refined during the return flight AA 1385 on October 4, 2001). Twenty-two Guyanese perished at the World Trade Centre, and the husband of one was absolutely disconsolate.  As he told friends afterwards, when they got up that morning his wife had said “You know something !!!   I don’t feel like going to work today.” And his response was “Don’t be lazy…  go along and do the people’s work.”  And she went…  to her death.   

 

Leap  Of  Love

       By  Hubert  Williams

Mom, we watched the rising sun

On another glorious day !

Our  “Big Apple”… glowing

So beautiful in Fall

We hugged… We kissed

You sent me on my way

Smiling your fond farewell

That was our daily call

 

At 19, my world was 

            Such a lovely place!

x

Rich roadside rhythm

Of rushing cars

Tunneled serenade

Of speeding trains

Sidewalk percussion

From a million feet

In orchestral unison –

“We Love New York”

 

A so smooth elevator’s rush

            And I’m on the 94th Floor

x

In fashion’s garb

With fragrance French

Confidence high: pretty

In the prime of my life

There’s much to be done

At my file-stacked desk

The Lord loves a doer

And I’m truly good at what I do

 

It feels really great to be

            Young, healthy and happy

x

But then… Oh  My  God!

What’s that awful noise?

Loudest, most frightening sound

I‘ve ever heard…. Deafening.

Shaking building… building shaking so

Awful, choking black smoke: terrible screams

My mates, my friends, so many others

God guard us all… God guard us all!

 

Our beautiful Trade Centre

            A raging inferno in the sky

  x

Heat… White heat … Heat so intense

Flames. Angry, hungry flames. All-consuming

None of us here will survive this day

Yet… Fear I feel not… I’m not afraid

Truly, fear is but a sanctuary for fools

As it affords no one any real shelter

Nor does fear provide any safety.

Bravely, I must face

            The fact of death!

Credit cards and all my ID secured

Jewelry, inscribed watch, diary, too

Crucial cell phone safely in my bag

All that is me, I have with me

Then… leap outwards, downwards

But keep always looking up, up, up

Falling faster against rushing wind

That will soon take my breath away

And it is Heaven’s joys that

Await me at this journey’s end

Very few leap:  Most choose to stay

            As youth’s vitality burns into Zero!

  x

No matter how crushed

And battered be

What hits the ground

Remains me

Morticians can

My likeness bring

Back to funereal

Perfection still

Oh, no… ‘Twas not Fear… 

            Affection steered my act

  x

My sparkling eyes shut

My warm embraces stopped

My happy laughter stilled

My familiar footsteps gone

But, Mom, Dad, Darlings all

Be not too sad. Do not despair

I am here with you

For closure 

  A corpse to bear on that slow

           Anguished journey to the grave!

  x

Mom, I dare not say

Don’t cry too much

For tears are famously

Our family’s way

We always celebrate

And mourn alike

‘Til the rivers of joy/sorrow

Exhaust their liquid flow

But for me, you’ll find tributaries

            And rushing estuaries anew!

  x

Closure soothes, Mom. It soothes

Without it, pain has no ease

Grief grips the heart

Grimly grinding more lives

So, Darlings all. Please…

Inter this mortal me

And treasure the final sight

Of your Beloved

‘Twas love for you

             That made me leap !

OCTOBER  4,  2001

When the Towers Fell | National Geographic

Giuliani describes what it was like to live through the ten seconds in which the south tower caved in and fell to the ground

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  • Clyde Duncan  On September 11, 2020 at 5:53 am

    We Still Can’t Move Past 9/11 Politics

    In 2018, we are still talking about terrorism. But the terms of the debate is shifting.

    Joshua Keating | SLATE

    “Do you believe you could do a better job than President Bush in preventing another 9/11-type terrorist attack on the United States?”

    THAT WAS THE FIRST QUESTION OF THE FIRST PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE IN 2004, POSED TO SEN. JOHN KERRY BY MODERATOR JIM LEHRER.

    From that first presidential election after the Sept. 11 attacks to the 2020 campaign season, the 18-year war on terror has continued to color American politics.

    The post-9/11 shadow has remained over subsequent elections. In 2008, Barack Obama’s early opposition to the war in Iraq helped propel him to his party’s nomination and then the presidency. In 2012, he successfully defended his handling of the pullout from Iraq and the attack on a U.S. compound in Benghazi from Republican criticism.

    The 2016 election took place against the backdrop of the rise of ISIS in the Middle East and deadly jihadi attacks in San Bernardino, Orlando, and Paris. Donald Trump rode his promises to “bomb the shit” out of ISIS and completely shut down Muslim immigration to the U.S. straight to the White House.

    For one thing, the threat of 9/11-style terrorism in the West by jihadi groups like al-Qaida and ISIS has dwindled.

    According to data from New America, there hasn’t been a single deadly jihadi attack on U.S. soil in 2019. There’s been only one in Europe. The most recent mass casualty attack was the 2017 lower Manhattan car ramming.

    As Dan Byman recently noted for Slate, after the El Paso, Texas, shooting, DOMESTIC RIGHT-WING EXTREMISTS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR MORE DEATHS ON U.S. SOIL SINCE 9/11 THAN JIHADIS.

    Americans are still concerned about terrorism, but it’s not as dominant an issue as it used to be. In 2002, 91 percent of Americans viewed international terrorism as a “critical threat”, according to survey data from the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. In 2016, it was 75 percent. Today, it’s 69 percent — in second place behind cyberattacks on U.S. computer networks.

    IN TERMS OF ALL PRIORITIES, ACCORDING TO PEW, TERRORISM HAS FALLEN TO FOURTH PLACE BEHIND THE ECONOMY, HEALTH CARE, AND EDUCATION.

    While roughly 8 in 10 Americans viewed it as a priority for most of the early to mid-2000s, it is down to 67 percent today.

    TODAY, ATTACKS ARE RARE AND WHEN THEY DO OCCUR, THEY HAVE FAR LESS OF A POLITICAL IMPACT THAN THEY USED TO, PARTICULARLY AMID FREQUENT ACTS OF DOMESTIC TERROR AND MASS SHOOTINGS.

    There Were More Mass Shootings Than Days in 2019

    BY Jason Silverstein | CBS News

    There were more mass shootings across the U.S. in 2019 than there were days in the year, according to a gun violence research group.

    2019 had the highest number of mass shootings in any year since the research group started keeping track.

    BY THE END OF 2019, THERE WERE 417 MASS SHOOTINGS IN THE U.S., according to data from the non-profit Gun Violence Archive (GVA), which tracks every mass shooting in the country. Thirty-one of those shootings were mass murders.

    GVA defines a mass shooting as any incident in which at least four people are shot, excluding the shooter. The group also tracks mass murders as defined by the FBI — incidents in which at least four people are killed. The FBI does not have a formal definition of a mass shooting.

    IN THE END, 2019 HAD THE HIGHEST NUMBER OF MASS SHOOTINGS IN ANY YEAR SINCE 2014, when the Gun Violence Archive started its count. It has surpassed the prior record of 382 mass shootings in 2016. The GVA reported 346 mass shootings in 2017 and 337 in 2018.

    The GVA said there was a total of 15,381 gun deaths — including homicides, suicides and accidents — and 29,568 injuries in 2019.

    On another note:

    11 September 1973, the Popular Unity Government of President Salvador Allende was deposed by a military coup d’état.

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