Random Thoughts: On 9-11

The "events" of 9-11 touched us all, some more than others. Coach Roy was knee deep in NU Football when word came of the tragedy unfolding in New York, and Washington, DC...

Has it really been 5 years?
That morning, I was up on the NWU board discussing some question about NU vs Navy Football when an e-mail came across - essentially asking if anyone had a clue what was going on with airplanes flying into buildings, etc.

Walking to the other room, I turned on the TV and there were those horrifying pictures of the World Trade center on fire, then the shot of the 2nd airplane hitting the other tower, then live shots from outside the Pentagon, with flames and smoke leaping into the sky over Washington, DC.

What we didn't know then was it was the end of NU football for a couple of weeks, our next opponent was the Naval Academy at home, and, with an attack that has been compared to Pearl Harbor back in 1942, we had suddenly been thrust into another war .

Suddenly our cell phones were useless, so were our regular phone lines. E-mail sorta worked, the chat rooms were useless. The main roads with bridges that were deemed vulnerable were closed. We even had a guided missile frigate anchored off Annapolis, it was something that only the World War II generation had seen before.

Watching, transfixed, it seemed like a Tom Clancy novel, but this was real.

Real people were dying - several NU Alums would be listed among the dead and missing. As it turned out, NU's Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Patrick G. Ryan's company Aon Corporation had a big office in the World Trade Center - those planes struck some in the NU community very hard.

Its not my intention to be political - there are plenty of NU Alums on both sides of how to prosecute this War on Terrorism that came to the foreground 5 years ago.

While New York wrestles with how to re-use the Trade Center Site, the memory of those killed in Washington was honored by the rebuilding of the shattered outer ring of the Pentagon in less than a year. The attacks stiffened the resolve of those charged with fighting our enemies, and reminded all of us that there are people out there who would do us harm just for who we are.

9-11 really didn't effect me personally. It caused some disruptions in my business, and some concern for our kids who were living in the DC area, but the events of 9-11 eventually touched our little town, and continue to touch the way we all go about our lives even today.

NU Football went on in 2001, with Randy Walker at the helm and captains Napoleon Harris and Zak Kustok. With the Navy game canceled, the Cats added a non-conference game with Bowling Green to the bye week. They won the next two games, but finished Walker's 3rd season with a disappointing 4-7 record. Some fans were hoping the 2001 would be his last.

It wasn't, and now we're memorializing him also.

There's a line in the Seabee song, "and we promise to remember the 7th of December."

I hope and pray that we treat September 11th in the same way...
-- da Coach

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