Sunday, December 7, 2008

A day that will live in infamy

Pearl Harbor Day. September 11, 2001. The attack on the Cole. Madrid. London subway. Mumbai. Remember the Maine.

It pays to be prepared. You just never know when some bastard is going to stab you in the back. Good preparation does not mean just weapons but also disposition of yourself and your assets. It also means after attack survival.

I remember 9-11-2001. I was on my way into DC for a medical appointment. I was probably the only person in the country unaware of what had just happened in NY. The attack on the Pentagon had not yet occurred. I got off a nearly deserted subway downtown and went to my appointment. No answer at the door. Unknown to me the doctor was in an enormous traffic jam on 395 due to the Pentagon attack. I gave up waiting and went outside and saw the smoke rising from the Pentagon. Someone on the street filled me in on what they knew: something about an airplane crashing into a NY skyscraper. He thought that DC was under attack. Get out of town he said.

My friend William Caswell was aboard the plane that crashed into the Pentagon. Bill and I had gone through the undergraduate physics program together at Maryland. He later got his PhD at Princeton in quantum chromodynamics. You can read about his career on Wikipedia. Imagine how I felt when later I learned of Bill's fate. At home in Accokeek, the odor from the Pentagon drifted to us some 20 miles away. All the subsequent week or two fighters were flying CAP over the DC area. I watched them maneuver at night, keeping each other alert by sneaking up on each other.

I remember 9-11. A few are still around to remember Pearl Harbor. It seems like it will never end. It won't end.

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