Greg King

Sept. 11, 2001, is one of those days etched in the memories of those of us who were alive at the time.

I’ve never shared my memories of that day publicly before this year. I’ve never felt it was that important since I wasn’t directly affected.

However, because the story involves my dad, I felt like I should at least put it down since I no longer have him either.

It was a Tuesday morning, and I was chilling out in my dorm room at Ole Miss. I had classes later in the day. My dad called me and asked if I was watching the TV or knew what was going on.

I told him I wasn’t.

He said something to the effect of some idiot has flown a plane into the World Trade Center.

I asked him what kind of plane and how somebody could have been so inept they hit a huge skyscraper.

See, at that time, it wasn’t known it was an airliner or a deliberate terrorist attack.

My dad was a private pilot, and I had grown up around aviation. He had grown up during WWII and remembered a B-25 Mitchell crashing into the Empire State Building one foggy night.

We had also read stories on the occasional light aircraft hitting skyscrapers because the pilot got too close.

As we were talking about possible ways it could have happened, the second plane hit. That this was no accident was immediately obvious.

I stayed glued to the TV and didn’t go to any classes that day. I think they were cancelled, but I don’t honestly remember.

I watched on live TV as people jumped to their deaths from the tops of the towers instead of being burned alive. I watched it live when the first tower fell and then the other.

On Sept. 11, 2001, I had been talking with my dad and witnessed an event that for me would be just as memorable as Pearl Harbor was for him.

I remember feelings between sadness and anger for quite some time.

I was studying to be a mechanical engineer at the time. When classes resumed, I remember my thermodynamics professor trying to speculate and explain to our class how the planes might have caused the buildings to collapse.

I remember how united we all were on Sept. 12, 2001.

A lot has happened in the intervening years. Even with protracted conflicts overseas, I am still stunned we have sitting members of Congress who refer to what happened on September 11th as “some people did something,” or that the New York Times runs a picture of the Twin Towers, stating “airplanes took aim” instead of the now politically incorrect truth that this was done by radical Islamic terrorists.

I suppose they now blame the jets for hitting the towers, not the evil at the controls, much like guns are now blamed for the actions of those wielding them.

I wish we could return to the unity of Sept. 12, but I would never want to see another 9/11 to make us get to that point.

Hopefully someday the rancor and divisiveness will subside. The lust for power that drives political parties now is ripping the nation apart.

I pray that cooler heads will prevail, and the nation will once again come together.

Greg King is the Franklin County District 4, Seat A commissioner and a Decherd police sergeant.