My title for this blog should not be misunderstood. The day is infamous because terrorists caused heartbreak in Manhattan. The attack on innocent Americans was and is still horrendous. The deaths included citizens of other countries, including Canada. I cannot easily separate my grief between citizens of the various countries, but I suppose because I am Canadian, I think a bit more about the Canadians who lost their lives that day. As far as I know I did not know any of them and yet I feel like I must know them.That knowing is of course not possible. I don’t understand what their lives were like before the attack by two aircraft. I cannot know their hopes and desires. I can only know that everything ended for them shortly after 9 AM.
Like many of you I reflect on this day about my whereabouts that fateful morning. I was at work at William Paterson University in Wayne NJ carrying out my duties as GM of WPSC-FM. I regularly monitored TV channels to be aware of what was breaking. I saw TV footage of the first attack and raced outdoors to look across the Hudson River to see the first tower with a huge plume of black smoke issuing from its side. Minutes later I saw the second tower hit. I was stunned like thousands of others who watched and could not turn away.
Many of you know that I am a former broadcast journalist. After watching the reality for a short time, I decided that the only thing I could do is guide my students and volunteers, my staff, to spend the next hours keeping our listeners informed as best we could. We gathered and summarized information gleaned from various news sources and presented it to our listeners. Our regularly scheduled music programming was shelved for about 8 hours. We returned to our regular programming when it became apparent that most people were tuned to news channels, many if not most of our listeners included. My staff performed like troopers. We knew we had done the right thing.
My Novel, The Chechen’s Revenge, which tells a story of a Chechen dissident bound on a plot to do harm to Canadians and Canada, contains one brief mention of 9-11. My character Betty Anne Grabler is described as having a scrap of twisted burned metal on her desk. Sean-Guy O’Dwyer-Lariviere discovers that the piece is significant, a reminder of her brother who died in the two attacks. The metal inspires her in the fight against terrorism in Canada.
It is my opinion that we must all be always vigilant against the prospect of terrorism. Both Canada and the USA have well constructed plans to combat terrorism. Not perfect perhaps, but well intentioned. We need to be a part of it in whatever small way we can.
More importantly, perhaps, we need to spend this anniversary day remembering those who died; the workers in the towers and the first responders who gave their lives trying to save as many as possible. Let us also remember all those who ran toward danger for the same purpose who survived but have been forever changed.
Ron Stotyn, PhD
Good reading friends. Thanks for your support.