We as a nation are in the midst of remembrance of the brutal terrorist attacks of 12 years ago. I wanted to bring you back to that horrifying day.
My senior producer Kim went through the archives and pulled audio of what I said when I opened up the mic on Sept. 12, 2001. Normally this show is all about saving more, spending less and not getting ripped off, but we’ll get to that later.
The words you’re about to read give you my perspective on the day afer 9/11. You’ll sense an anger that you generally don’t hear from me.
On-air reaction after the terror attacks
“We must choose if we go on with life as individuals or hide from life. As soon as I can fly again, I will be on a plane. No cowardly terrorist act will stop me from flying. I will fly, I will go places and have a good time. I will go on vacation. Nobody is going to scare me off.
[Now defunct airline] Midway has announced that they’re toast. They were in bankruptcy, but they’re not even going to try to come back now; they’re expecting air travel won’t recover.
That’s not the America I know.
I’ll go to a mall, which is very uncharacteristic for me, because the terrorists would hope we’ll be afraid to gather and become targets. But I’ll go out and put a bulls-eye on myself. And once the roar of contribution of blood donations dies down, I’ll give blood. I’ll also go to a sporting event to gather with others and state confidently that we will go forward.
It’s OK to be afraid, but at same time you’ve got to be brave. We didn’t become the land of the free and the brave by learning to be free first. We became free because we are brave.”
The pursuit of al Qaeda
So many Americans have shed blood on foreign battlefields since 9/11. It may be a generation or two before we know if the invasion of Iraq was right. That’s still unclear in my mind. We lost a lot of wounded over there.
But I have no doubt about Afghanistan and going in there to chase al Qaeda on their own turf. When Osama bin Laden was killed, people thought I was gloating on the air in a way that was unbecoming of me. But just think back to that day when 3,000 innocents died and you’ll know why I said what I did.
With all the focus on bin Laden, it’s easy to overlook that we’ve continued to take out second and third tiers of al Qaeda leadership. We’re doing what’s necessary. We cut off the head of the snake and now we’re going for rest of the body.
For me, the greatest moment of 9/11 was United Flight 93. Because of cell phones, those people knew they were a missile aimed to bring more havoc on the United States. So they took on the terrorists unarmed and kept that plane from taking down the Capitol or the White House.
Without doubt, it was a “Where were you when…” kind of day. Everyone has their story about where they were and what they were doing when they heard the news. But what really matters is where we are now 12 years later. And that is sadder, stronger, and wiser.