Tim Giago: Remembering 9/11 -- the day that lives in infamy

The following column by Tim Giago appears in the current issue of the Native Sun News.

Like so many others, I was glued to the television news channels trying to find out as much as I could about the horrible happenings in New York City. The pictures of the burning twin towers are still etched into my mind.

On that day, September 11, 2001, I recalled my visit to New York City in 1994. I stayed at the Marriott Hotel just across the street from the twin towers. I walked across the street and had breakfast at the restaurant on the bottom floor of the tower.

Later that day I remember taking an elevator to the top of one of the towers, I can’t recall which tower, and standing high above Manhattan and seeing the city spreading out for miles around me.

For lunch I stopped at the restaurant on about the 105th floor and enjoyed the cuisine of New York City. That restaurant took a direct hit from one of the hijacked planes killing many of the waiters and cooks.

When I saw those towers crumble and fall I wondered how many people never made it out. The day I visited the twin towers I noticed that the elevators, shops, offices and hallways were filled with busy people going about their business. More than 2,700 people, including many fire fighters and police officers, met their fate that day.

As I watched the disaster unfold that day I couldn’t help but remember that I was there inside of those buildings and probably brushed elbows with some of the people that never made it out of the buildings.

On that day I had the same feelings that I had when I stood on the platform built above the U.S.S Arizona at Pearl Harbor. I knew that hundreds of sailors were still entombed in the body of that great battleship and that they would never be brought to the surface.

First Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, and then 9/11; both tragedies that would, in the words of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, set “A date which will live in infamy.”

Tim Giago, an Oglala Lakota, is President of Unity South Dakota. He was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard with the Class of 1990. His weekly column won the H. L. Mencken Award in 1985. He was the founder of The Lakota Times, Indian Country Today, Lakota Journal and Native Sun News. He can be reached at UnitySoDak1@knology.net

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