“Tell the kids I’ll be gone. But my love will never be gone.”

9/11 Remembered

“Holy s***, John! Some maniac just flew his plane into the World Trade Center.” This was the first of a few voice messages I received from an American woman on that awful September day twenty two years ago today. Two messages later, there was no outrage or confusion in her voice. All I heard were tears, a few strangled words that didn’t make much sense and the message ended. By this time it was clear the plane was a commercial airliner, not a small Cessna. And the second airliner had just struck the South Tower.

The “love will never be gone” quote you see in the headline was a voice message from a passenger who was on the third plane, which crashed in Pennsylvania. In New York, a little under 3,000 people died on that day in a blistering fireball and an avalanche of steel and concrete. In the next years that followed, a further 7,000 soldiers died as America went to war against anyone who George W. Bush claimed “wasn’t with us”.

A Black Smudge in History

If you put aside, just for a moment, the numerous conspiracy theories that have gained traction since this tragedy, the technology employed to successfully carry out the 9/11 mission was a simple Microsoft game called Flight Simulator. Do we have the technology today to prevent such an attack today? Of course we do. Aircraft can be rerouted by remote control, or blown up. AI can screen passenger manifests more accurately before a flight takes off. Heck, a simple lock installed on the door to the flight deck was the only tech needed post 9/11. (But even that was turned on its head fourteen years later by a suicidal pilot carrying a plane load of passengers. He just locked the door and flew into a mountain.)

It’s not the technology that needed changing to prevent another 9/11.

It was foreign policy. And that hasn’t changed at all, despite how the politicians may protest otherwise.

However this is a tech, not a political, site.

So enough to just honor, in remembrance, the unwitting victims of 9/11 today. Those who died. Those who were left behind. And to pray or hope that none of us ever receive a call or message saying “Tell the kids I’ll be gone. But my love will never be gone”.

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