On February 26, 1993 (22 years ago today), I was on the 79th floor of One World Trade Center when terrorists detonated a truck bomb in the basement with the intention of bringing down at least one of the towers. They failed that day, only to succeed 8 1/2 years later.
6 people died. Over 1000 people were injured, most of us with lungs damaged by smoke inhalation. The details of the 4.5 hours it took us to escape the building are seared in my brain, images standing out like it happened yesterday instead of half my lifetime ago.
The memories of that day come back to me often, and have shaped me in unexpected ways. Not surprisingly those events played a big role in my decision to leave NY.
One might assume that having this experience would make me somewhat sympathetic to the irritations of modern life in America: the security lines at airports, the government's war on terror, etc. But you'd be wrong.
As I mourn the loss of the 6 people who died that day, I also mourn the loss of our civil liberties. The right to assembly, the right to free speech, the right to privacy, the protections against unreasonable search and seizure. All being attacked under the guise of the "war on terror". The steady degradation of these freedoms, accelerated after 9/11, troubles me greatly and I don't believe that the loss of these freedoms and the government's ever-deeper intrusions into our lives are making us "safer" or our citizens more secure.
I plan to honor the folks who died by taking some time today to renew my membership to the ACLU. What will *you* do today?
Note: this article originally published on Facebook yesterday (2-26-15).