I do remember
the morning of September 11, 2001 very vividly,
as do most Americans who were old
enough to have witnessed it. I was up early that morning as I had an
early flight from Orange County to Oakland for an insurance authority meeting.
On television, as did thousands of Americans
watched, I saw the first plane hit the World
Trade Center, but in the beginning the news people thought it was either a
small plane or an accident of some sort.
I made my way to
the airport and boarded my plane; however, just before we took off the second
plane hit the second tower and all
flights in the U.S.A. were grounded. It was very eery because we did not push back from the gate and suddenly
people started getting up from their seats, using their cell phones, and word
spread that the World Center second
tower had been hit and all planes were to stay on the ground or land, immediately.
The mass exodus from the airport was very chaotic. Cindy had left
for school and her aide did not know anything had happened. It was a
surprise and shock, of course. She called both of our boys to make sure
they were alright. I remember being glued to the T V all day at work and
everyone being very sad or crying most of the day. It was indeed a
terrible point in the history of this country.
weeks after 9-11,
my wife Cindy flew to New York to try to convince our son, Peter, to stay in
school at the United States Military
Academy at West Point where he was a plebe (freshman). He wanted
desperately to quit school and join the U.S.
Army immediately to help in any way he could. She was able to
convince him to stay put, and today, fourteen years later Peter is a Major in Army Special Forces. They traveled down
to New York City to see the damage of the soon to be named Ground Zero, and were amazed by what they saw and witnessed.
The damage was, of course, still very prevalent and people were still
wandering around the site looking for lost relatives. The devastation was
horrible! All in all, it was a horrific experience for all involved! It
gave our son the resolve, to stay in school and become an U.S. Army officer, now with four tours in foreign lands, including
Iraq and Afghanistan.
I attended the 9-11
Memorial service this Friday morning at Big
Bear High School, as I always have on this date since we became Big Bear
Lake residents. I was very impressed with how the students remembered
those fallen first-responders and victims of this horrible crime.
Most of these
high school kids were just toddlers or babies in 2001, so it was very poignant
the way they praised and remembered this day. Every American and
especially residents of Big Bear Valley should be very proud of our students. They
have never forgotten what happened on that September day, even though they may
not recall about the threat to our United
States of America.
We, Americans should never forget what
happened and not allow history to be rewritten to somehow blame our country and
its policies for what happened.
Those at Ground Zero were innocent people and
first-responders who did not deserve what happened to them. Many showed
extraordinary courage in the face of certain death and we should always
remember and honor their sacrifice.
of Big Bear Lake Mayor David Caretto