17 Sep 2001
Thank you for the effort you are putting into
your personal coverage of the:
Nine One One Wake Up Call to America.
I intend to explore your site.
I'm sure you got some emotionally charged
pictures - and the grief that surrounds that
horrible gash in the Pentagon.
There were tears of rage, of sorrow, of
loss - all around us.
And personal stories there on the hill by
the Navy Annex.
The Captain who retired in 1980. He was
a Naval Academy graduate whose final office
in the Navy was in the Pentagon - right
where the aircraft hit. Tears in his eyes.
The young Lieutenant on the hill with her family from
Oregon. She had been at her desk in the B Ring. The
plane came right at her but stopped after crashing
through the E Ring - then the D Ring - then the C Ring.
She was on the hill in uniform. With tears in her eyes.
Her parents, aunt and uncle, siblings - all with tears
in their eyes.
For me - the personal tragedy of losing a friend
and brother Admiral. RADM Wilson "Bud" Flag and
his wife, Dee, were best friends from the 7th
grade to the ending of their lives together –
in that air plane so cruelly used as an
incendiary bomb by a suicidal fanatic.
Bud and Dee were parents, lovers, and best friends
for half a century.
I will attend the services at their home church in
Winchester, Virginia, and at the United States Naval
Academy. With tears in my eyes.
Eleven Naval Academy graduates were
killed in the sneak attack.
I am struck by the many connections that Americans
have. Each of us knows at least 600 other people -
the 6 degrees of separation idea. With only 6
links any two people in the United States can find
a chain of acquaintance.
The 5,500 dead knew at least 3,000,000 other
Americans. And those 3,000,000 knew all the
rest of the people in the United States.
Any one of us Americans is only one link away
from directly knowing a victim of this
declaration of war - or having a friend who
knows a victim.
The grief is pervasive.
This attack was taken against us all - to
hurt us all - to maim us all. It has done
that but also given America a purpose.
Now, we - as a nation - know what to do.
We must stop fanatical terrorism before it
can destroy civilization. That is a long,
hard, protracted task.
Donnita, it was a pleasure meeting you.
I look forward to seeing your CD when you have
the time to put it together.
Don't stay up too late working on it. The
most important thing any of us has is health.