September 11th, 2009

1061689185 9/11 It’s hard to believe that it has been eight years since everything changed. I remember the details of that day better than I do what happened yesterday.

I was working for the Air Force then. I was in a meeting with a 4-star general making plans for a scheduled visit from the Secretary of the Air Force…a visit that never happened. The general’s aide came into the room, whispered in the general’s ear and turned on a TV. On the screen we saw the smoke coming out of the first tower.

The general stopped the meeting and said we needed to find out what was going on. Back at my desk I had a TV to monitor the news. My job was media relations. I watched on the TV as the second plane flew into the second tower. And the news came in that the Pentagon had been hit.

Of course, at that time we didn’t know who or what was behind the attacks…but we knew we, the nation, were under attack. Being the Air Force, with the country under aerial attack…well you may be able to imagine that there was a lot of activity, to put it mildly. I can’t talk about everything I know that happened that day, and I know there is plenty that I don’t know about that went on. That was a very serious day.

The feeling from that day that overshadows everything else was the uncertainty. We didn’t know where the attacks came from and we had no idea if another attack would occur somewhere at any time. We were doing everything we could to prepare and prevent that from happening. For all we knew a foreign invasion could have been about to begin.

I ended up spending that night in an underground command post helping coordinate the Air Force response to the media around the country. I was the point of contact for more than a dozen bases for guidance on what they could say to the media. My guidance that night was to say nothing. That was not a time for PR. At one point I had a major who wanted to put out a news release saying we had F-16 fighters with full combat loads sitting on our runway ready to take off. I said no. Those planes were within easy mortar range of uncontrolled areas around the base. With our level of base security back then a squad of well trained attackers could have had a very good chance of piercing our perimeter and reaching those planes. The major couldn’t seem to understand all that. Voices were raised. There was no news release.

I spent the first couple days after the attack under the assumption that we were at war with an unknown enemy. In a sense, of course, that was correct.

Some months after the attack I started seeing lots of really bad “Flag” photos. Everyone was in a patriotic mood and was trying to find ways to express it. I thought I could make a flag-themed photo that did a little better job of reflecting the mood of the country. The photo above is what I came up with.

The world is a worse place since 9/11. In many unfortunate ways the terrorists have succeeded. We live in fear now…mostly misplaced and misdirected fear. But the terror is there. I am hopeful that our current leadership will be able to do a better job of keeping the terrorists from achieving their ends and bring the world closer to a place where such actions will not be tolerated anywhere on the planet. That is my hope.

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About this Blog

Photos and comments by Dave Levingston. This is the place to see my most recent work which may include nudes, dance, landscape, nature and whatever other kinds of photos I feel like taking.

Since it does contain nude photos, this blog is not intended for viewing by anyone under the age of 18.

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