WHEN AMERICA CAME TOGETHER
Nick Millman on September 11th in Washington DC
Words are not
enough to express my deep condolescense for all those effected by the
tragedy, especially those in America who were lost and those who lost
friends and loved ones. An evil act that attacked innocent ones, without
provocation, without remorse, without feelings, just simply, evil evil
people who must be extinguished from the face of the earth. We cant turn
back the clock but we can help shape our future in order to help prevent
more children to be without parents. I would like to wish all those involved
the best of luck in ending the evil regime of terrorism.
On the day before September 11th, I had just returned from working in
a toy store in Ocean City, Maryland as part of BUNAC's work America programme,
to Washington DC. It seems on my part, the story of my summer seems irrelevant
to me or anyone now, but all be it, it was a good experience, an experience
I thoroughly enjoyed. On the day it happened, I remember driving on the
outskirts of Washington DC aiming to get to Boston to visit a friend.
Then the radio was announcing the so called 'first' accident in the world
Was it a terrorist, or was it an accident, I was repeating
to myself. I hoped it was an accident rather then an act of mankind, because
even at the least it is more acceptable, the SAS accident at Milan Linate
airport was more acceptable, even if it was also a tragic event, and Im
sure corrective measures there are being undertaken within Milans
air-traffic control system.
Moreover, the images of the American public at service stations and in
Jersey with their radios on, all crowding round one another, chatting
about the news, were extraordinary. It reminded me of a documentary I
had watched about the American public reaction to world war two. When
I spoke with some of them after stopping numerous times on my way north,
the reaction was disbelief and shock. In one bar, a man stormed out after
heated debate about possible US entry into a war, shouting explicitives
and curses. Another woman I spoke to on the phone of a hostel, could not
believe it and apologised to me that it happened because I was a visitor
in America, I quickly replied that I would still remain a future visitor
Now that the shock is settling a little, what should be done. Is the military
campaign morally acceptable? Will Bin Laden be caught? Will there be more
attacks? And what about other threats such as Hezbollah and Saddam Hussein
who are both potentially worse then Al-Queda. Personally, I think the
USA pulling out of the Middle East and Israel is not an option. Besides
these evil people use Israel's problems as an excuse, just to inflict
an attack on a country they probably secretly admire and are jealous of.
All through history, the greatest nations are always the hated ones, Roman
Empire, the Greeks, the Spanish, the British and now the Americans. These
terrorists do not know distinguish between right and wrong, they will
not negotiate, nor compromise, nor reverse their beliefs, these people
will not stop. Something must be done, it will be done, I am confident
of this, the Western military machine is too powerful and must prevail.
On my way to Massachusetts, I couldnt help but feel anger, I desperately
awaited the death toll figure to go down. Duplicates, I said,
I wanted many duplicates in the list that had been drawn up by the authorities.
The death toll was too much, the equivalent of all those on an aircraft
carrier, or at a small Division 1 soccer match. It is hard to comprehend,
so many souls!! The world-wide effect on top of this is phenomenal, sacked
pilots and airline workers, businesses going bankrupt, civilians dying
in Afghanistan, riots in over 30 countries, increased world-wide racism
against Moslems, especially in the West. The list is endless.
After attending a service in Providence, Rhode Island a few days later,
I can honestly say, from a foreign perspective, that Americans have a
nation to be proud of, and that the coming together of peoples from all
over the country is a positive outcome of the tragedy, perhaps to be cherishedby
Finally, I returned to the London soon after, flushed out and tense, wondering
what the sense of feeling was there. Similarly, having travelled to various
hostels in Austria and Switzerland since, I can say that many people still
feel anger, mostly referring to the tragedy as something out of the film,
Independence Day. In Innsbruck, the Australian guys I met there
were glad that America sent their airforce, It is about time,
and Now we can act were some of the remarks made by them.
In Vienna, I argued with a French guy about whether Bin Laden was quilty.
I simply put it to him that I didnt care whether he was or not,
because even before, there was overriding evidence in the USS Cole and
Embassy attacks. He repeatedly slammed the table, sternly saying, where
is the evidence, where is the evidence and that America
is not acting in a democratic judicial manner.
Still, wherever you go, the event always crops up in some conversation
somewhere, and so it should, because this impacts not on just America
but the whole world. If it can happen in New York, it can happen in London
or Paris, Tokyo or Beijing, Prague or Berlin, even Anchorage or Bangkok.
This was an attack on America. All countries should rise up to defeat
this scourge, so that all countries in the world will be a dangerous haven
and not a safe haven to these terrorists, and so that the
evil minority cannot ruin the lives of the vast majority.
© Nick Millman: October: 2001
Nick Millman email@example.com
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