I well remember the terrible significance of this day. I was going to recount the details of what and where I was going the day America suffered from the horrific terrorist attacks. About how I was in Washington, DC and witnessed the burning Pentagon and thousands of people just milling around the highways surrounding it, scared, distressed and not having any way to get to the safety of their homes.
The flames, the smoke, the smell. It was truly horrible.
I wanted to find a picture on the Internet of the Pentagon in flames after the crash from the approximate angle that I witnessed while weaving my car through the throngs of people to get downtown to Coast Guard Headquarters and help set up ironclad security on the building, the staff and most importantly, the Coast Guard Commandant.
Sadly, my friend Google returned many hits on websites and pages dedicated to the idea that the Pentagon was never hit by a Boeing 757 aircraft, instead it was a great lie fabricated by then President George W. Bush. The websites state that the Pentagon explosion was caused by bombs planted on the president's orders. Some go into great detail on trajectories "proving" that a plane could not have hit the building, that there is no "evidence" of any airplane parts that were found in the wreckage, or that security cameras located around the Pentagon did not capture any photographic evidence of the plane hitting the building.
America is a wonderful place, and we have a Constitution the guarantees freedom of speech. I took an oath when I joined the Coast Guard and re-took the oath when I was commissioned to protect the Constitution from all enemies, foreign and domestic. That includes the parts about freedom of speech.
I'm glad that we have that freedom and I served to protect it. But it doesn't mean that I can't find the perpetrators of these websites proporting a big conspiracy to be infuriating and staining to our great country, as well as ignoring those victims of all the attacks who lost their lives.
I'll never forget. Never. Please don't you, either.