Daily Bread for 9.11.21: Twenty Years Later

Good morning.

Saturday in Whitewater will be partly sunny with a high of 90.  Sunrise is 6:31 AM and sunset 7:10 PM, for 12h 38m 58s of daytime.  The moon is a waxing crescent with 24.1% of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day twenty years ago, a series of coordinated terrorist attacks kills 2,977 people using four aircraft hijacked by 19 members of al-Qaeda. Two aircraft crash into the World Trade Center in New York City, a third crashes into the Pentagon in Arlington County, Virginia, and a fourth into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

 Campbell Robertson reports In Shanksville, Preserving the Memory of 9/11 and the Wars That Followed (‘After Flight 93 went down, once unthinkable duties were thrust upon the community, including young people who found themselves coming of age in a time of war’):

SHANKSVILLE, Pa. — When the plane crashed in the empty field north of town, the schools let out early. Katlin Rodriguez, 11 at the time, waited in a cafeteria full of crying and shocked classmates for her mother and stepfather to come and take her home. When they showed up, they had brought along a family friend. “Don’t worry,” said the friend, a teenager who announced he had just enlisted. “We’re going to get them. We’re going to get the ones who did this.”

On a muggy Friday morning 20 years later, Ms. Rodriguez, now the wife of a Marine and the mother of a 6-year-old girl, was planting American flags in a small field not far from where Flight 93 went down outside Shanksville, Pa. About a dozen people were with her, each flag they planted representing one of 7,049 U.S. service members who had died in the wars that were waged since that late summer morning in 2001.

“A lot of the kids I went to school with, they enlisted,” Ms. Rodriguez said, looking out across the field. “It made a lot of us feel more connected to the larger world.”

By the time that the plane went down in Pennsylvania, the larger world was already reeling. The streets of downtown Manhattan were filled with dust clouds and terror, as the South Tower of the World Trade Center had just collapsed. In Washington, federal officials and city residents were bracing for more attacks as flames poured out of the western side of the Pentagon. People across the country sat in shock in front of their televisions, waiting to hear what institution might be hit next.

Unlike the Pentagon or the World Trade Center, Somerset County, Pa., was not a target on Sept. 11, only a place that Flight 93 was passing over on the way to the terrorists’ grim objective in Washington. People did not live in Stoystown or Friedens or Shanksville, a tiny town without a traffic light, because they wanted to be near the levers of global power.

But when the passengers and crew of United Flight 93 attempted to seize control from their hijackers and the plane went plummeting into the Pennsylvania countryside, Shanksville suddenly became a battlefield in an international conflict. Once unthinkable new duties were now thrust upon the Fire Department, the county coroner, the nearby state troopers, the local historical society, the neighbors living near the crash site and, all across the country but here especially, the young people who suddenly found themselves coming of age in a time of war.

 Centaurus A galaxy stunning view captured by Dark Energy Camera:

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