My first post about the 20th anniversary of 9-11-01 is here.

My personal quest is to learn from our nations experience in the last twenty years, and help make a contribution to a better world in what time I have left.  Another, possibly final, post on the topic will be published on 9-11-2021.


September 11, 2001, I was part of a crew of volunteers from Basilica of St. Mary working on a new Habitat for Humanity home which had been under construction for some time.

Our crew began its work on September 10, and was on scene for two weeks.  I recall there was a great outpouring of volunteers in the days following 9-11-01, so many that there was not enough work to be done.  People would drive up and ask if they could help.  I suspect others have similar stories at that time of national stress.  I was there probably for 7 of the 10 days.

I remember this porch (below) especially since my son-in-law John was helping when this porch was being constructed 9-11.  When I took the below photo, in the late Fall of 2001, the house was essentially complete, and the dedication and presentation to the family was in January of 2002.  The family still lives in the home. (A photo of the porch and crew on 9-11-01 can be seen here.)

I’ve watched several retrospectives on 9-11-01 in the past week, most recently last night on the NY Firemen first on the scene after the first plane hit the first tower.

I have been to New York City only once in my life, and that was in late June of 1972 for a few hours when I took the snapshots at the end of this post.  At the time, one of the towers had been completed and was occupied; the second was nearing completion.  We did not go into the building; we just wanted to see it.

At the end of October, 2001, we went on a vacation trip to London, which had been scheduled long before 9-11.  I remember the kindness and welcoming of the English on that trip.

Back home, unfortunately, the mood of our nation was war, and that has been our last 20 years, largely.  I think the danger of the Kabul suicide bomber at the end of August, could be – I certainly hope it isn’t – our new 9-11-01.  Wars have started on actions by a single person or a small group.  We didn’t, and we don’t, need war to get to peace.  War is a fork in the road best not taken.  Too much can go too wrong.

Sadly and ironically, the day the World Trade Centers were destroyed was days after the United Nations General Assembly meeting at the UN in Manhattan had approved a resolution setting September 21 of each year as the International Day of Peace.  A celebration was taking place at the UN Plaza when the first plane hit the tower not that far away.  I still have the video produced by the English group Peace One Day (scroll to the end and read the review written by someone.  The film is worth watching, if you have any interest in peace.)


Here is some information about the losses on 9-11-01 and in the subsequent years of war.  I think these numbers are reasonably accurate, though I know there are certainly other pieces of data that are similar, but not identical.

Data about the deaths at the time of 9-11-01 at the three sites.

Afghanistan cost of war between 2001 and 2021, data from Associated Press.

We always seem to amplify our own losses, and minimize those suffered by others in our wars.

World Trade Center New York City, end of June, 1972, by Dick Bernard

World Trade Center New York City June, 1971 photo by Dick Bernard

Snapshot of United Nations, New York City, Dick Bernard , Late June, 1972

POSTNOTE of concern: I have rarely written about 9-11-01 at this space.  One time vividly comes to mind, and that was the day I visited the International Peace Garden shared by North Dakota and Manitoba.  You can read it here.   I published it July 23 2009.  Succinctly, the tragedy we are re-viewing now, became a pretext to going to endless war, which hopefully ended on August 30, 2021.  Have we learned anything?  It remains to be seen.  Other posts about 9-11 can be accessed in the archive section at right, for Sep 2 2011, Sep 9, 2011,  Sep 11 2017, Sep 10, 2019.  Simply call up the month and year, then click on the specific calendar date.

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