Monday, September 10, 2012
9-11: My Thoughts 11 Years Later
Tomorrow marks the eleventh year to the day of September 11, 2001. I remember the day quite well as many of you. I was in Washington, D.C. on business attending the annual meeting of a private equity fund headquartered there that our State Insurance Fund had invested. As was my habit, I had gotten up at my usual time that Tuesday morning, and after getting dressed, had gone downstairs into the basement of the Hotel where I was staying and in which the annual meeting was taking place to have a cup of coffee and a breakfast roll. I sat with a few men that were attending the meeting and just talking casually with a retired Secretary of Defense, who was having his morning coffee too. This was the last day of the annual meeting. A little while later that morning, I entered the large hall in the basement where the meeting was taking place and took a seat just behind the last row of tables and chairs that had a wider aisle so people could walk through. I liked having a little more room to stretch my feet. There I took my seat and placed The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal over my lap to read. At 8am, the usual introductions were made and the meeting began. After a couple of speakers, the meeting to a break so the late arrivals could get something to eat outside the meeting hall at a long table filled with an assortment of breakfast foods. Since I had already had my coffee, I stayed in my seat and started to read The Wall Street Journal. I hadn't got very fair when the two huge screens behind the podium lit up and I looked up. On the screen was New York City with a view of lower Manhattan. I remember how blue the sky was except for the black smoke that was coming from one of the World Trade Towers. The man on the TV said they thought a small plane had crashed into the tower, but no one knew how big a plane. Then I watched as a large jet came into the picture and banked and slammed into the other tower. Someone had declared war on the United States. People started coming back into the large hall and took seats or stood and watched the screen. Then the location switched to the Pentagon where another plane had hit. Now this was very close to where we were. Three planes and then talk of a fourth plane headed for D.C. A few minutes later, it was announced that the annual meeting was over. Later lunch was served next door at the athletic club and the room was filled with people talking. After lunch, I walked outside to get some fresh air and found groups of soldiers parked in vehicles on every corner. D.C. was on alert. There was no way to leave D.C. as all air travel was grounded. All except for those Saudi nationals that were permitted to leave the country. To this day, I wonder why the United States Government had to let those Saudi nationals leave so soon. Shouldn't they have been held for questioning? 15 of the 19 terrorists were from Saudi Arabia! How could 15 Saudis pull off such a terrorist attack without some help or aid from inside the United States? It is 11 years later and there are still no answers to why they had to be sent home so fast, and why they were never questioned by the FBI. What was so special about President George W. Bush and those Saudi nationals that the FBI was not given the opportunity to talk with them? Some day perhaps we will find out.