We managed to avoid a disaster in Florida this week and the markets breathed a sigh of relief. We staved off an elevation of the crisis in North Korea when the government chose not to launch still one more test of an ICBM. We must be thankful for both, although the former is a natural disaster that can't be avoided and the latter would be man-made and must be stopped before thermonuclear war breaks out, something that North Korea seems to be courting with everything it has.
But I want to talk here about a cataclysm that was avoided, a terrorist-made tragedy that was stopped, the one that occurred 16 years ago in Shanksville Pennsylvania, the Pentagon and downtown New York, where the Twin Towers came down and more lives, civilian lives were lost than at Pearl Harbor. It's a second day, 16 years ago, that must live in infamy and I often fear that it will be forgotten if we don't remind those who were not there, who were not even born, that it happened.
Tonight, CNBC will re-run our documentary about the rebuilding on the site that is at once reverential to those who died and a rebirth to a city so devastated by the murderous collapse of those two gleaming towers that made up the World Trade Center. I am proud of the feature, but at the same time, we cannot let the new skyscrapers going up and the incredible vibrancy of life that now pulses through the area to allow us to forget what transpired there 16 years ago.
That's why I have a request to make here, a request that if you haven't visited the sadly beautiful fountains ringed by the names of the deceased, both the workers and the incredibly brave first responders who ran in to help save those who were trying to get out, and gone through the museum of remembrance itself, you must do so.
You know when I was growing up in Philadelphia we visited the Franklin Institute, an exciting place that's a tribute to innovation. We went to the Philadelphia Art Museum, such an amazing shrine to creativity. I am sure all of you had similar field trips to the monuments that mark our country's greatness.
But it's this museum that must be visited because, unlike Pearl Harbor, which brought us into World War Two, the attacks that day in September can be forgotten if we don't insist that they be remembered. You are greeted with the remains, not just of the building, but of the deceased trapped on whole floors that are now just a flattened grave. You go through a time capsule of what the world was like on that beautiful New York day before the sky turned black from the billowing clouds of debris, debris with incinerated humans unlike anything I, about a quarter of a mile from the tragedy, had ever seen or ever would want to see again.
Then in a small alcove meant only for those who can handle it emotionally, you can see the most visible sign of the tragedy, people choosing suicide, jumping to their death, rather than choosing a different kind of fate. You can hear tapes of the desperate calls, the sadness, the cries. And then you can look up stories of the deceased, something I found, as a Summit resident, where we lost so many, too hard to deal with, but deal with I tried.
At this monument, the incredibly difficult-to-fathom events of that terrible day can be given the context they deserve. Go there. See it. Remember.
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