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9/11 tragedy remains sobering in many ways



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Seiser
September 14, 2011 | 07:27 AM
To be honest, my plan this weekend was to avoid all news coverage of the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on America.

It certainly wasn't a decision made out of disrespect for this country, those who died, all the heroes who made a difference that day and the soldiers and other servicemen who continue to battle this war on terrorism.

I thought the memories of that day were still ingrained enough in my mind that watching it all again Sunday was unnecessary. .

Ten years ago and during other times since, I thought I had seen enough video of the second jet plane veering into and exploding into one of the towers leaving smoke pouring out of both high rises. I, like others, observed the look of terror on the faces of the people running through the streets of Manhattan seconds after the collapse of the towers as debris and dark smoke clouds chased them.

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I saw the destruction of the Pentagon, the smoke cascading after the third plane hit that huge building. And we all heard the emotional stories of those heroes on Flight 93 who called their loved ones before they stormed the cockpit of the hijacked plane that eventually crashed into a Pennsylvania field, killing all aboard.

These are the scenes and emotions I still have that will forever be in my memory. Even if I never see another video of 9/11, I will remember what happened that Tuesday in September 2001.

But, as I flipped though the channels Sunday morning, I couldn't help stop on MSNBC. The network was showing a video of the actual live coverage of the attack that morning. Along the bottom of the screen, it stated the date and the time and Katie Couric and Tom Brokaw both appeared to be in the studio watching, too.

This was footage I had never seen. On Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001, about the time the attack started, I was in the office at the Regional News. We were working on getting out a newspaper that day. In the morning, I remember family members were calling some staff members and telling them what was happening.

We had no Internet connection in the office at the time, so we were totally relying on others for any information. Most of the day I continued to work, fully focused on that week's paper. It wasn't until later that night when I finally got home that I understood the true horror of the day's events.

Chills ran through my body that night 10 years ago as I watched the replay of the second plane veering into one of the towers and then again when the towers collapsed.

This past Sunday, being a person in the news industry who is interested in how different events are covered, I decided to watch a few minutes of the MSNBC footage from that day. An hour later, it was clear that shock and misinformation overtook those covering the events. Now knowing most of what happened, it was interesting to hear the reporters and anchors tell those watching what was happening. It turned out sometimes they had no idea.

I learned at first, those in the Pentagon, including military personnel, believed a bomb was detonated at the facility. It was at least 15 minutes before the report was a jet that flew into the building.

The reporters also were wrong as to where President George W. Bush was at the time. They claimed he was on a plane to a school in Sarasota, Florida, when in fact we now know he was already listening to children at that school read when an aide whispered in his ear about the attacks.

There also were a number of other things the reporters said that turned out to be incorrect, but one reporter said that Osama Bin Laden was one of the few people who could lead a coordinated attack such as this and that he was in Afghanistan at the time. Turned out she was right on.

As I watched more, I realized two things Sunday — I hadn't seen everything and no matter what, I will never forget the images I have seen over the years from that destructive and deadly day.

However we choose, we all will remember that fateful morning in our own way.

Seiser is the editor of the Regional News.

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