On September 11th, 2001 I was in my office when I was told that a plane had flown into one of the Twin Towers. We turned on the television and watched the news coverage. Subsequently, the second tower was hit and then the Pentagon - where my brother worked occasionally. Our family underwent six hours of pure terror until he got a phone call through.
Shortly before September 11th I had taken a trip to Germany where we worked and lived with members of the Polizei. What I experienced when we landed at Frankfort airport can only describe as culture shock. The Polizei were patrolling the airport at high alert and high visibility. They worked in pairs: one carrying an MP-5, the other there to cuff and stuff. That would be unheard of here at that time.
There was no need to question the practice as terrorism was a constant concern. Germany had been the scene of terrorist activity for many years. They deal with the threat efficiently and with no room for error. They were then thirty years ahead of us taking care of business and still deal with things a lot differently than we do here. They have little sympathy for terrorists - contrary to what we hear.
I believe we will someday be hit again. Doesn't the loss of those on 9/11 mean anything? It does to me. Keep the victims, our soldiers, intelligence agents, and our fellow officers in your thoughts and prayers.
I will leave you with this thought from former United Kingdom Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill:
You can always count on Americans to do the right thing - after they've tried everything else.
Well, we are still trying.