The day the planes hit (9/11 Diary)

This essay was written by ZDNet Government columnist David Gewirtz on the morning of September 11, 2001.
Written by David Gewirtz, Senior Contributing Editor

This article continues our remembrance of the events of September 11, 2001. I'd like to dedicate it to all of those souls who died in the tragedy, to all those who loved them, to those incredibly firefighters and policemen who went into harm's way and didn't come out, and to all the rest of the rescue workers and caregivers who gave so much of their heart, soul, and physical well-being in an attempt to clean up the aftermath and rescue some survivors.

I wrote this on the morning of September 11, 2001 and posted it on the ZATZ news pages. I've gone back into the archives, found my posts from those days, and I'm re-publishing them here, raw, and un-retouched. Reading my old posts has helped me get in touch with what this anniversary means. I hope that they serve a healing purpose for you, as well.

We're posting this as of 11:45am EST. As most of you no doubt know, America has been hit by devastating terrorist attacks against the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and, according to some reports, the State Department. Hijacked domestic aircraft have been used, in part, as the instruments of destruction.

We've closed ZATZ today. We had two of our people traveling this weekend, Theo and Heather. Both have returned safely and are at home. Obviously, we're postponing publication of the September issue of DominoPower for a day or so.

We can't bring you all the latest news. For that, CNN and the other on-site news reporters are your best information source. But we can share with you the sense of shock and horror everyone seems to be feeling. If you're like me, you probably want to curl up under the covers and hide, but that's not something we, as a society, can allow ourselves to do. Americans, on the whole, are an amazing people. We route around destruction, often pull together, and we do live past crisis. Yes, there are the few bad apples, but in the main, we're able to move on.

This story, and the pain, fear, and horror of the incredible loss of life will be with us for quite some time. Be aware that the American government has command-and-control processes in place to deal with disasters of just this sort. The key staff members of our current administration are quite seasoned and quite capable and are responding in appropriate ways.

We must never forget and we must find and avenge these actions. But that's a task best suited to our government. There will be rumors for days about who is responsible. It is possible that members of certain ethnic groups will claim responsibility. But we must ask you to remember that most members of these ethnic groups are just regular people and please remember that most of your neighbors are just as scared, or more so, than you are.

Right now, we're all a bit freaked. Our economy's been troubled and now this has happened. We must take our time to grieve for our fallen citizens. But we must not allow those responsible to permanently affect us. In a day or so, we'll all go back to work. As a society, we must pull together and keep our heads up, recover, rebuild, and move on. Our best wishes go to everyone, and of course our deepest condolences go to those who fear for their loved ones.

For those of you reading this from outside the U.S., please send your good thoughts to those in American who have been impacted by this tragedy. It has not been a good day for the United States, but the courage and dedication of emergency management personnel has been incredible. Also, we have many readers who are involved with the various news services. Our thanks to those of you who are going to extraordinary lengths to keep us informed. Hang in there, everyone. We'll survive this.

Read the rest of the 9/11 Diary series:

See also:

During our 9/11 retrospective coverage, I invite you to post your thoughts and remembrances, but I also request you remain respectful and polite. This isn't just a story of politics. This is a story of real people, their families, and their loss. Courtesy is demanded at a time like this. Thanks!

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