We pause today to remember the September 11 attacks on our nation, to honor those who lost their lives in the attacks, and to commend those who continue to fight to protect our country. -- Center for American Progress, 9/11/2012
U.S. Ambassador to Libya
Killed by Terrorists on 9/11
I reflected on my thoughts about healing and I remember thinking, "What a blindly simplistic and overly optimistic comment."
I can't take that thought back and wouldn't even if I could. I put it out there for a reason. But I do wonder whether I will ever feel that way again. Look at all the violence and anti-American rage that has spilled out at our diplomatic outposts around the world. Has all of the progress made in Iraq and Afghanistan been erased by a single 14-minute video?
Perhaps 9/12/2012 hit me hard because 9/11/2012 had been a very emotional day for me.
- For starters, the weather Tuesday was eerily similar to that of Tuesday 9/11/2001: clear blue, cloudless skies, and crisp fall temps. Hauntingly beautiful!
- I had a meeting at 9:30 and I announced that my intention was to observe a moment of silence at 9:37. Everyone readily agreed, and when my wristwatch alarm sounded, they joined in.
- In the afternoon I went to the Pentagon for our annual ASA, M&RA / DCS, G-1 9/11 memorial service. I felt like I was attending the reunion of my second family. There were somber moments, but there was also joy of rekindling old friendships and other signs of healing.
- I studied the memorial at the end of Corridor 4, looked at the graphic of the flight's deadly path hanging outside LTG Maude's old office, and visited the chapel and touched the piece of glass I placed in one of the stained glass windows.
- I also attended the DoD 9/11 memorial service in center Courtyard. Hon Panetta spoke and his delivery was strong and powerful. I admire his leadership style.
- After returning home I changed into riding clothes and rode up to Patriot H-D for the group ride to the Pentagon Memorial. At PHD, I enjoyed seeing my friends, new and old. We talked business, and made big plans, and had a great ride to the Pentagon.
- During the ceremony, the names of all 184 victims were read in groups of 10. Interestingly, the groups were not alphabetical. The names of my friends were interspersed in such a way as to shock me when I heard them.
- After the ceremony at the memorial, I took pleasure in serving as a docent / tour guide, explaining the memorial's design to many, and sharing my stories about some special people.
- I stopped at a favorite restaurant in Old Town to treat myself to a late dinner on the way home, feeling fine.
That's when things began to take a twisting turn for the slightly more complicated. Unbeknownst to me at the time, the US Consulate in Benghazi was under attack....
I wonder very much these days if our efforts over the past 11 years will be seen as worthy, effective, responsible, in light of the heavy responsibility for justice and security we were handed on that day 11 years ago.To which I replied
You pose a good question. We can wonder whether the world is better, whether our Nation is stronger, or whether our children are safer in this post 9/11 age so much of our creation. Hard to say, but one thing is sure: we cannot roll back the clock. We have to flow forward.
Again, simplistic in hindsight...
Later, two other friends,JL and MWR, independently challenged my traditionalist view of what "really"happened on 9/11. Both point to evidence of an inside job with conspiracy theory videos and other evidence that is making the rounds.
Part of me wants to dismiss any conspiracy theory out of hand. Hey, I was there, I know what I saw. But another part of me wants to at least understand the allegations. I watched this video with an open mind: Mysterious Deaths of 9/11 Eyewitnesses. I have to admit, the mysterious deaths of so many people who might know something counter to the shared, traditional story of 9/11 is beyond coincidence.
Of the murderous rampage, my friend JB said
RIP Ambassador Christopher Stevens and 3 yet to be named American embassy staff (most certainly Diplomatic Security Service protection agents) that were killed in Libya. I hope our country STRONGLY responds to this senseless act of violence. This country has not lost an ambassador to violence/terrorism since 1979. Let us not forget that on a daily basis, thousands of American citizens work on our behalf at Embassy and Consulate posts around the world....