Our day that will live in infamy

Where were you on September 11, 2001?

I wrote on the Sunday following that day of infamy:

“I sat down at my computer at about 6 a.m., unfolded the newspaper and switched on the television. There was smoke pouring from the top of one of the unmistakable landmarks of New York City, the World Trade Center. Well, I thought, there’s a story and photo for tomorrow’s front page, and started into the morning’s routine.

“Minutes later a fireball blossomed from the other tower, and it began to dawn on the commentators and me that this was no ordinary accident and Sept. 11 would be no ordinary day.”

I started making phone calls. Reporters and photographers were dispatched to Hoover Dam, McCarran International, City Hall, Nellis Air Force Base, the Strip and elsewhere. Editors huddled. The publisher called in and said we should add 24 pages to the Wednesday newspaper. All plans were scrapped and we started from scratch, hoping to help our readers make sense of a senseless act.

Every section of the paper kicked in its resources.

The press crew rolled the presses early and cranked out thousands of extra copies.

Then I wrote that Sunday:

“I was proud of what we all had accomplished, of the concerted effort and professionalism, as I drove home at 1 a.m. … until I heard the callers on the radio. People were saying they would gladly give up some freedoms for the sake of safety.”

I wanted to reach into the radio and slap some sense into the callers.

The column proceeded to tick off some of the rights spelled out in the Bill of Rights and I wondered aloud which people would willingly sacrifice. The First’s right of assembly, lest there be a bomb, and no freedom of speech and religion, especially that one? The Second’s right to bear arms? The Fourth’s prohibition against warrantless search and seizure? The Fifth’s right to due process? The Sixth’s right to a public trial?

I concluded:

“If this is the consensus of the nation, the bastards have already won, destroying our will and our principles as well as planes, buildings and lives.

“We will have surrendered without firing a shot in the first war of the 21st century.”

The column appeared sandwiched between a Jim Day cartoon and a Vin Suprynowicz column with the headline: “The passengers were all disarmed.”

In a comment to a local magazine on an anniversary of 9/11 I called it “our Pearl Harbor.”

A version of this was posted on this day in 2017, 2018 and 2019.


7 comments on “Our day that will live in infamy

  1. Athos says:

    Gotta chance to read old blog posts from past years on this subject. Hard to believe it’s been 19 years. Now we have BLM and Atifa burning down our cities and democrat governors stealing our right to earn a living, Or send our children to school (that we pay for!) and limit our right to worship. And is it me or does anyone else object to mega millionaire black athletes lecturing me on systemic racism in America?

  2. Anonymous says:

    I wonder what the morning paper’s front page would have looked like if Bush would have come out and called 9-11 a “hoax”?

    Or even if instead, after the 3000 dead bodies had been dug out of the wreckage, Bush had suggested that more than that died nearly every week in traffic accidents?

    Or it, Bush had said that there were only about 19 guys involved and that, without doing anything, he had everything tremendously under control?

    Or maybe even more currently, if he’d have given an interview to Mr. Woodward immediately after the Towers fell and said that this was a deadly problem and then gone on to tell the American public how it wasn’t so as to “keep them calm” all the while Americans were dying because he did nothing.

    I wonder.

  3. Athos says:

    What did bill clinton mean when he said ” I wish 9/11/01 would have happened on my watch”?

    Is that how this game is played nyp?

  4. Rincon says:

    It might have been better if Bush had done exactly as you have suggested, Anon. We might have avoided two very expensive wars, a great deal of probably unnecessary homeland security expense, the erosion of several civil liberties, and exposing the exact limits of our power to the world. I get your point though. Looking at how we overreacted to terrorists and specifically 9/11, it’s amazing how badly this administration underreacted, even to the point of calling it a hoax and saying it would subside nicely by itself. I consider him/them responsible for the deaths of at least half of the nearly 200,000 Americans who have died so far. Admittedly, many other countries made similar mistakes. Brazil, Mexico. and the Philippines come to mind, although Britain did rather poorly as well, along with others. The sheer stupidity of say, telling us not to wear masks for MONTHS, while the evidence was strong enough even in the beginning, that I required them in my business for both employees and patrons is still hard to comprehend.

    While Republican administrations badly underreacted, as would have been expected, Democratic administrations overreacted, thereby damaging the economy more than necessary. In Illinois, for example, we shut down public parks and golf courses, two of the very safest places to enjoy the company of others, and yet allowed people to run wild in Wal Marts and Home Depots, etc.

  5. Athos says:

    If we were giving out “do-overs”, what would be the purpose of living?
    Here’s a what-if for you: there was another calamity that happened on this date and it had its own malfeasance that begs for correction.
    What if the Lightbringer wouldn’t have had a campaign stop scheduled in Las Vegas on 9/12/12?
    Would our Libyan ambassador still be alive?

  6. Don Campbell says:

    It was a terrific editorial, Tom.
    And now, Antifa is permitted to burn down our cities, intimidate all those who might wish to speak up against such actions and even physically assault anyone who happens to stumble into one of their “protests.” All without any real consequences. Indeed, much of the press excuses such anarchy. I truly fear for the Republic.
    Hope you are well. I think of you often. Your editorials saved the Nevada judiciary…and me!
    Don Campbell

    From: 4TH ST8
    Reply-To: 4TH ST8
    Date: Friday, September 11, 2020 at 7:23 AM
    To: Don Campbell
    Subject: [New post] Our day that will live in infamy

    Thomas Mitchell posted: ” Where were you on September 11, 2001? I wrote on the Sunday following that day of infamy: “I sat down at my computer at about 6 a.m., unfolded the newspaper and switched on the television. There was smoke pouring from the top of one of the unmista”

  7. Hope you and Colby are safe and healthy.

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