September 10, 2001.

Twelve years ago today, Rudolph Guiliani was not “America’s Mayor” but a morose, embattled politician facing the end of his second term as Mayor with a public and messy divorce, troubled children, and living in a friend’s apartment leaving Gracie Mansion to his angry soon-to-be ex-second-wife as he battled prostate cancer.

Twelve years ago today a recently-elected President of the United States planned domestic policies and an end to “nation building.”

Twelve years ago tonight, thousands of people were planning their business and/or pleasure flights; tomorrow’s duty shift at the Pentagon; tomorrow’s work and deals in the World Trade Center.

Twelve years ago tonight you could board an airplane without removing half your clothes and putting your toiletries in clear plastic bags.

Twelve years ago today you could just get on a line in Washington DC and take a tour of the White House, the Capitol, the Supreme Court on the spur of the moment.

Twelve years ago today “If you see something, say something” didn’t make sense.

Twelve years ago today foreign “students” from Saudi Arabia could enroll in flight school to pilot multi-engine jet planes and not express any great interest in learning how to land, only to take-off; and nobody thought it was worth mentioning to anybody in law enforcement.

Twelve years ago tonight a young man whom I once knew as a kid in St. Dominic’s’ High School was one of those “masters of the universe” who tapped into the prosperity of the 90’s and was enjoying life and helping to take care of his widowed mother and his siblings. He’d go to work tomorrow at the WTC.

Twelve years ago TOMORROW everything changed.


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