Remember Those Today

Remember Those Today

"I thought, how human, how modest of her, to hold down her skirt before she jumped. I couldn't look anymore."
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16 years ago, one of the most tragic events in history played out. Whether you were too young to remember it, not born yet, or remember exactly what you were doing and exactly where you were at the time it happened, there's not one person that doesn't know how significant this day is in history.

16 years ago, on September 11, 2011 it was a clear Tuesday morning until American Airlines Flight 11 took off from Boston at 7:59am with 81 passengers. A second airplane departing from Boston, United Flight 175, held 56 passengers and departed a mere 15 minutes after AA Flight 11.

Though the exact events within the plane are unclear, the cockpit of Flight 11 was breached and one of five Al-Qaeda members on board took over airway commands and headed straight towards the heart of New York City. Only 46 minutes after departure, that clear Tuesday morning turned to anything but.

American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center at 8:45am. The 110-story building still stood tall, but those above the 80th floor found themselves trapped, while the 81 passengers on-board and hundreds of employees working were found dead on impact. Only 18 minutes after the first crash, at 9:03am on this no longer clear Tuesday morning, the South Tower was struck, killing all passengers on board and hundreds of workers within the building. America was under attack.

As the world gained news of this terror attack, American Airlines Flight 77, which took off at 8:20am, carrying 58 passengers, headed straight towards the Pentagon, crashing in at 9:37am. Carrying 37 passengers, United Airlines Flight 93 departed at 8:42am from Newark. Heading in the direction of Washington D.C., fearless passengers on board realized they were under attack and took initiative, trying to gain back control of the flight, fighting off the Al-Qaeda, ultimately crashing into a field in Pennsylvania, killing everyone on board.

16 years ago, America suffered from the tragic events of the 9/11 attacks. The world watched in fear on live television broadcast, people called out to their loved ones to see if they were alright and made it out safe, and many stood in complete awe and disbelief.

As the streets filled with smoke and rubble, fearing for their lives, people took death into their own hands. Hundreds jumped from the towers to face their death, losing all hope of making it out alive. Hundreds on the higher levels of the Twin Towers were trapped and slowly suffocating from the heat and smoke rising from the crash. Hundreds were already dead from impact. Hundreds were scrambling to find a way out, some actually making it out alive due to them being on the lower levels of the tower. The Survivors' Stairs, as they call them, were route for hundreds of people to make it out alive, being one of the only staircases left somewhat in tact after the attacks.

16 years ago, at 9:59am, the South Tower collapsed, trapping and killing everyone that was left in it. Following suit, the North Tower collapsed at 10:28am. A reckless, heartless terror attack on the morning of September 11, 2011 killed thousands, including civilians, firefighters, and law enforcement officers.

What started off as a beautiful morning ended in one of the worlds most gruesome terror attacks.

As a result of the attacks, 2,763 people died. 2,763 people who woke up that morning, got ready for their day, wished their loved ones a goodbye and a see you later, just to never to return again.

Today, 16 years later, you will find a memorial for the 2,763 people who had their lives taken from them too soon. Two pools now line where the Twin Towers once stood. Two pools engraved with all of the names of those who passed, there for people to pay their condolences and remember those who lived in fear during the tragic events.

One World Trade Center also stands its ground next to the two pools, holding up strong and tall. A memorial museum sits next to it for anyone to visit, to learn more about the events that took place, to hear voicemail's that were left to loved ones killed, to see photographs that have never gone public, to read play-by-plays of the events, to hear stories that were left untold. Inside the museum you will find one particular quote that will make you want to remember those today. James Gilroy, a man watching from the streets of New York remembers a woman from the towers: "She had a business suit on, her hair all askew. This woman stood there for what seemed like minutes. Then she held down her skirt and jumped off the ledge. I thought, how human, how modest of her, to hold down her skirt before she jumped. I couldn't look anymore."

So on this day, September 11, 2017, remember those today. Remember those who thought that clear Tuesday morning 16 years ago was just another day. Remember those, today.

Cover Image Credit: Abby Graf

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The Trump Presidency Is Over

Say hello to President Mike Pence.

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Remember this date: August 21, 2018.

This was the day that two of President Donald Trump's most-important associates were convicted on eight counts each, and one directly implicated the president himself.

Paul Manafort was Trump's campaign chairman for a few months in 2016, but the charges brought against him don't necessarily implicate Trump. However, they are incredibly important considering was is one of the most influential people in the Trump campaign and picked Mike Pence to be the vice presidential candidate.

Manafort was convicted on five counts of tax fraud, two counts of bank fraud, and one count of failure to file a report of a foreign bank account. And it could have been even worse. The jury was only unanimous on eight counts while 10 counts were declared a mistrial.

Michael Cohen, Trump's personal lawyer, told a judge that Trump explicitly instructed him to break campaign-finance laws by paying two women not to publicly disclose the affairs they had with Trump. Those two women are believed to be Karen McDougal, a Playboy model, and Stormy Daniels, a pornstar. Trump had an affair with both while married to his current wife, Melania.

And then to no surprise, Fox News pundits spun this in the only way they know how. Sara Carter on Hannity said that the FBI and the Department of Justice are colluding as if it's some sort of deep-state conspiracy. Does someone want to tell her that the FBI is literally a part of the DOJ?

The Republican Party has for too long let Trump get away with criminal behavior, and it's long past time to, at the very least, remove Mr. Trump from office.

And then Trump should face the consequences for the crimes he has committed. Yes, Democrats have a role, too. But Republicans have control of both chambers of Congress, so they head every committee. They have the power to subpoena Trump's tax returns, which they have not. They have the power to subpoena key witnesses in their Russia investigations, which they have not.

For the better part of a year I have been asking myself what is the breaking point with Republicans and Trump. It does not seem like there is one, so for the time being we're stuck with a president who paid off two women he had an affair with in an attempt to influence a United States election.

Imagine for a second that any past president had done even a fraction of what Trump has.

Barack Obama got eviscerated for wearing a tan suit. If he had affairs with multiple women, then Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell would be preparing to burn him at the stake. If they won't, then Trump's enthusiastic would be more than happy to do so.

For too long we've been saying that Trump is heading down a road similar to Nixon, but it's evident now that we're way past that point. Donald Trump now has incriminating evidence against him to prove he's a criminal, and Special Counsel Robert Mueller is just getting started.

Will Trump soften the blow and resign in disgrace before impeachment like Nixon did? Knowing his fragile ego, there's honestly no telling what he'll do. But it's high time Trump leaves an office he never should have entered in the first place.

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An Escape Raft From Trump

How a declaration of resistance is really a plot to escape blame

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How does a person come back from being part of a great injustice? I'm not talking about how a person recovers from being a victim of a great wrong, nor am I referring to the process of judging those who perpetrated the act. No, what I want to know is how those who aide and abet such actions, those who collaborate and stand idly by, come back into the fold of civilized society without being held to account.

A few weeks ago there was an anonymous Op-Ed in the New York Times from a senior White House official. The piece caused a great stir because it alleged a great conspiracy within the president's administration by even its most senior members to thwart the worst impulses of the president and keep the nation on a relatively sane track. Much of the coverage has focused on trying to identify the author of this controversial piece or praising those brave souls in the administration who are a part of the resistance. I was among this crowd until I started reading a bit further about this article and what it represented. With that further exploration I came to realize that what I took for a reassuring statement to the American public was actually something much more sinister.

How does a person come back from being part of a great injustice? This is the question that is currently haunting the leaders of the Republican Party as they grapple with the Trump presidency and the taint it casts upon their party. As the increasingly impending likelihood that Democrats will take back Congress and ramp up investigations, not only into Trump himself, but also the upper echelons of his administration and even members of Congress, Republicans are searching for any way to avoid blame before this impending storm of controversy and negative stigma hits.

This is where the op-ed and its cynical ploy comes in to play. While I have little doubt that there is a faction in the White House that attempts to curb the president to some degree, I do not for a moment believe it could be called a resistance or the actions of so-called 'adults in the room.' The point of the Op-Ed was not to give voice to this faction, but to control the narrative of Republicans in the White House, to tell a story about otherwise good people who work for this horrible man, but do it because they are preventing someone worse from coming along and doing something really bad. It's a convincing tale all things considered and its been proven to work in the past. Clichéd as it is to bring up Nazis with the Trump administration, in this particular case it fits, many Nazis after the war told tales of honorable Germans who were only doing things out of their patriotic duty and with the belief that if they didn't carry out orders someone else much worse would. It was convincing enough that thousands of former Nazis never received any meaningful form of punishment and lived out the rest of their days never having to atone for their participation in some of the greatest crimes in human history.

The thing about the 'preventing worse things from happening' argument both then and now is that it is complete and utter B.S. Many Germans knew what the Nazis were doing was wrong the same way as many Republicans know what Trump is doing is wrong, they just don't care because it gets them what they want, which is usually power. After some initial hesitation, Republicans were all too eager to embrace Trump and what he represented like moths to a racist, sexist flame. They endorsed and stood by him on the campaign trail even as his behavior set new lows for conduct, as his supporters unlashed a new hatful undercurrent into the party, and as shocking allegations about his personal conduct came out. Even as president when his capacity to lead has been shown on numerous occasions to be insufficient for the office, and his past activities are being revealed as startlingly criminal in nature, they stand by and affirm their support until the end.

Such stubborn loyalty might be commendable if it wasn't to such a horrible man who does such horrible things, except for that fact that it is illusionary. Republicans loyalty to Trump only lasts as far as it brings them power. And now that Trump's star is starting to fall and the voters are preparing to make their displeasure clear at the ballot box, they are seeking to distance themselves from him as fast as possible. The op-ed is simply the first step, to introduce the idea that Republicans were never that invested in Trump in the first place and were always present in opposing him, just not in any open or accountable way. They hope that their efforts coupled with the public's intense dislike of Trump and his close cohorts will allow history to repeat itself and they can get away scot free without their involvement ever coming to light.

We as the American people need to stop this narrative right here at the start and recognize it for what it is, a cynical ploy by a bunch of greedy, corrupt cowards trying to save their own skin as their boss takes the fall. We cannot allow them to succeed in this; we cannot allow them to escape justice. In the name of all those that have been harmed by this administration, in honor of all that has been endangered by their lust for power, they must be held accountable.

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