Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ten Years Later: September 11, 2001. . . For the most part, it's business as usual for me.

After spending the first half of the day conducting N.S.M. business and enjoying a picnic lunch, I decided to venture off to catch part of the Patriot Day celebration at Paseo Highlands Park, 3435 W. Pinnacle Peak Road. I wanted to check out the military aircraft on display and take a few photos. The Marine Corps flew in a Cobra helicopter and an Osprey vertical take off aircraft. An AH-64 Apache was also on display.

How I spent September 11, 2001. . .

On September 11, 2001, I was going about my business, doing my job. At the time, I worked as a distribution supervisor for a printing and marketing company in Mesa, AZ. Like so many others, it was a company that knowingly hired illegal aliens and engaged in other dishonest business practices.

When I heard of the first plane crash on the radio while driving southbound on Gilbert Road at the US 60, I decided to drive to the Target near where I was working in Gilbert, AZ and watch the live coverage on TV in the electronics department.

My employer almost never knew where I was or what I was doing most of the time. I was certain I wouldn't be missed for quite some time. I made it to the TV sets in time to watch the second plane hit. At that point, I knew this event wasn't an isolated incident or accident. Our country's poor foreign policy choices came back to bite us in the ass.

There were only a few customers in the store and some of them wondered over to watch. This was one of those rare occasions where complete strangers were willing to talk to people standing next to them. We all knew what this meant. It wasn't long before we received news of the Pentagon strike and the Flight 93 crash in Shanksville, PA.

Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey

The Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey is an American multi-mission, military, tiltrotor aircraft with both a vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL), and short takeoff and landing (STOL) capability. It is designed to combine the functionality of a conventional helicopter with the long-range, high-speed cruise performance of a turboprop aircraft.

The V-22 originated from the United States Department of Defense Joint-service Vertical take-off/landing Experimental (JVX) aircraft program started in 1981. The team of Bell Helicopter and Boeing Helicopters was awarded a development contract in 1983 for the tiltrotor aircraft. The Bell Boeing team jointly produce the aircraft. The V-22 first flew in 1989, and began flight testing and design alterations; the complexity and difficulties of being the first tiltrotor intended for military service in the world led to many years of development. Video:

Events of Sept. 11 remembrance

Patriot Day Celebration - Grammy-nominated country star Joe Nichols, pop singer Tony Orlando and country singers Corinne Chapman and Phil Vandel will perform. U.S. Sen. John McCain, U.S. Rep. Ben Quayle, Gov. Jan Brewer and Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon are among the speakers. An aerial show and a skydiving demonstration are planned, and helicopters and military vehicles will be on display.

Obama urges service, unity on 9/11 anniversary

Summoning the nation to unity and service, President Barack Obama paid tribute to America's resilience and the sacrifice of its war dead Saturday as the country prepared to mark 10 long years since the horrors of 9/11.

A day before the anniversary commemorations, the president made a pilgrimage to Arlington National Cemetery, strolling with his wife, Michelle, among graves filled with dead from the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. And he invoked the common purpose that arose from carnage a decade ago in telling Americans that the nation cannot be broken by terrorism "no matter what comes our way."

I'm sure Obama and his handlers never thought of us patrolling the drug corridors as public service. At D.C. Central Kitchen, Obama said projects to serve the community "are part of what the spirit of remembering 9/11's all about, the country being unified and looking out for one another." I certainly wasn't going to help the homeless or hand out needles to drug addicts.

Bright and early Sunday morning (It was still dark.), we assembled our group and geared up for a night in one of the popular drug smuggling routes in the Sonoran Desert National Monument. For OP SEC (operation security), I don't disclose the exact locations of our operations. It wouldn't surprise me if some of the cartel boys were reading this blog, too.

Last, but certainly not least, I attended a 911 memorial in Maricopa, AZ. This event was plain and simple. There was no $9.00 admission fee, nor dozens of vendors trying to make a quick buck on a national tragedy. There was no commercialism of any kind. Local leaders including Sheriff Paul Babeu, Frank Pratt and Senator Steve Smith gave brief, but very meaningful speeches. This was the best 911 memorial event I ever attended.

No sooner than the memorial service started, it began to rain. The weather failed to put a damper on the event. Without delay, organizers directed the modest crowd indoors where the ceremonies resumed.

"I remember President [George W.] Bush used to warn people that it was going to be a long slog. There wasn't going to be a Battleship Missouri moment. The critical issue for us was to persevere without being overwrought. I think that was an accurate prediction." -- Michael Chertoff, Bush's second homeland security secretary.

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