Seven hasn’t proven to be my lucky number

Doug LoehrI sat at my desk with the TV only inches from head when our managing editor, Jim Mason, received word from our circulation manager to tune into CNN immediately. Something “big” was up for the newsroom to switch in the morning from ESPN Sportscenter to CNN.

I remember thinking what in the world could be more important than our daily dose of sports highlights?

But from my chair looking up at the screen, an odd sight was being broadcast. A plane had crashed into the north tower of the World Trade Center in New York city.

My first reaction was how in the world could anyone accidentally crash their airplane into the World Trade Center?

My wife, Gina, called to ask if we knew what she had heard on the radio and I assured her we were watching.

Then out of the corner of the screen, a second plane appeared out of nowhere and then crashed in a fiery explosion into the south tower.

That’s when I exclaimed aloud, “This is not an accident!”

At that point everyone here was glued to the images being shown, over, and over and over again.

It got worse.

Close-ups were being shown from different angles. People were shown jumping from windows from 100 floors up and higher. Chaos reigned, and horror touched the hearts and minds of everyone watching it all unfold.

It got worse.

Another airliner crashed into the Pentagon minutes later, and reports were saying that yet another plane over Cleveland had made a U-turn and was heading back toward D.C. I don’t think anyone in America doubted that this plane was heading for the White House. That was the famous Flight 93.

It was famous because passengers on board who knew they were being hijacked had received word via cell phones at what was happening in New York. They knew that they were about to become targets themselves until the brave passengers overpowered their captors and crashed the plane and its innocent occupants in a farmers field in Pennsylvania, killing the threat and all aboard.

It got worse.

The south tower, like an old building being imploded, came crashing to earth, followed 39 minutes later by the north tower. Watching airliners crash into two of the most recognizable landmarks on earth was shocking, seeing both of them come down was paralyzing.

It’s hard to believe that it was seven years ago that this happened.

Until then, I thought al-Qaida was the name of a some second-rate lounge singer in Vegas and Osama bin-Laden was just another foreigner who “might” be a threat to our national security.

But what’s even harder to believe is that seven years later we still haven’t found him, and we’re still locked in a Middle Eastern war that will never end as long as Muslims hate the fact that we’re a free country; free to chose our own religion and beliefs, free to worship the one and only God who exists.

Our Democratic candidates for the next presidency want to withdraw out troops completely. Did these candidates have their heads buried in the sand on 9/11?

President Bush shocked me when he announced Wednesday that he will pull 8,000 troops from Iraq by February. Maybe he’s doing this to avert some of the pressure away from the Republican presidential candidate, John McCain.

However, my son, Danny — a U.S. Army infantry reservist — is being deployed Dec. 7 to Iraq, or maybe Afghanistan. He was 15 years old when the 9/11 attacks came. And yet here we are seven years later without resolve.

The war, obviously to me anyway, is not over, and I pray every day that my soldier — that everyone’s soldier — will come home in one piece.

God bless America!