As we remember 9/11
Seventeen years ago the world watched in shock the abominable attack on thousands of civilians in the United States carried out by a set of monsters who sought to justify their evil act by cloaking themselves in Islam.
This newspaper will never forget that heartless mass slaughter of near 3,000 human beings.
The fact that some of the victims were Jamaicans makes it even more personal and painful for us each time we see images of the hijacked commercial aircraft crashing into the World Trade Center twin towers in New York and the Pentagon building in Washington, DC, on this date in 2001.
That people in some countries thought it appropriate to celebrate the 9/11 attacks was most revolting for, as we have said before in this space, while the United States' history of military involvement in a number of countries has created enemies, nothing can justify the carnage that was inflicted on America, and indeed the world, on that day.
We suspect that many of the relatives and friends of the victims have, to this day, been unable to overcome the grief and sense of loss that this tragedy brought them. That would especially be so for people who are yet to receive conclusive evidence that their loved ones perished in the disaster, as word out of the United States yesterday is that more than 1,100 victims of the World Trade Center attacks have yet to be identified.
According to an Agence France Presse (AFP) report, the 22,000 pieces of human remains found at the site since the attacks have all been tested — some of them 10 or 15 times already.
“So far, only 1,642 of the 2,753 people who died in the attacks in New York have been formally identified. The 1,111 others have yet to yield identifiable information,” the AFP report said.
American media reports yesterday revealed that each year since the attacks the country has been seeing 9/11-related deaths among rescue workers are a stark indication of the long-term damage inflicted by the terrorists.
According to the New York Fire Department, 182 firefighters have died of 9/11-related illnesses, including 18 in the past 12 months. The New York Police Department has also reported that over the 17 years since the attacks 156 cops have died of illnesses contracted from their time working in the toxic debris from the fallen towers.
Those experiences have no doubt prolonged the pain, but the American people have demonstrated a resilience that has allowed the nation to recover, even as they maintain their pledge to honour the memory of those who perished and refuse to submit to the climate of fear that the 9/11 terrorists sought to create.
Today, our thoughts are with the American people and the families of the Jamaicans who died in the 9/11 attacks. The long history of friendship between our two nations is enriched by the fact that Kingston and Washington share a fundamental belief that murder and mayhem will not shake our resolve to protect the ideals of democracy, freedom, and tolerance of cultural diversity.
For, as we have stated in this space before, these ideals must be motivated by the force of ideas, not the force of arms.