It has been 21 years since the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks killed more than 3,000 people and shook the nation to its core.

The attacks stripped away a sense of security Americans had enjoyed for most of the nation’s existence — the notion we were untouchable within our own borders.

Michael A. Smith: 409-683-5206;​.



(24) comments

C. Patterson

Very compelling read

Laura Addison

9/11/22 will be old enough to drink legally.

That means there are fully adult Americans who have never lived in a USA without the Patriot Act - have never been to the airport without the security theater we call TSA.

George W. Bush duped Republicans into the Patriot Act & Donald Trump duped Republicans into "15 Days to slow the spread."

Joe Biden's executive order that forced corporations to vaccinate their employees with experimental medicine was the greatest attack on liberty since Bush passed The Patriot Act.

If big government can control the opposition, you’re still getting a Patriot Act, a lockdown, mandates & a Big Pharma experiment. More government, more law, more state is NOT the answer.

After two decades of getting fooled, most people haven’t learned anything - I am old enough to remember when being an American was enough to provide a sense of unity and common purpose. In the past 20 years, the politicization of everything for profit and power, have left us divided into tribes. It is not only a societal shift, but also a tragedy. We are living in very dark times.

George Croix

Hard to argue with most of that, Michael. Excellent piece.

I, personally, don't believe it's xenophobic to profile people who are like the ones who just killed a bunch of us, or still trying to, but no doubt not all of our post 9/11 efforts were pure in intent.

I'll simply note for the record that those home grown analogs mentioned are real, but DO inhabit BOTH of the far ends of our national politics...and until we all acknowledge that, and stop defending it, we're still in trouble....

If we find it difficult to be a nation united, at least for a little while, unless someone wipes a bunch of us out then, then we are really in a fix when we are encouraged to divide further....

Jim Forsythe

JFK said it best,

"If anyone is crazy enough to want to kill a president of the United States, he can do it. All he must be prepared to do is give his life for the president's". John F. Kennedy

If anyone is crazy enough to attack the USA, they may succeed, if they willing to pay the price.

The USA job is to make sure the penalty is too huge, to make everyone afraid to attack us.

Part of the Patriot Act was in response to 9/11. Some may not like when we started requiring proof, but I for one do not want to go back to the lack security we had before 9/11

George Croix

Jim, you and I were still employed when 9/11 literally hit.

I recall the first day was punctuated by some anger but mostly a sense of numbness..we were on Day 1 of at the time the largest scheduled unit TAR we'd ever had, and my boss at the time wisely told us to send all the contractors and maintenance crews home for the day....

Next day it was outrage and fists shaking day, and flags going up at high tower points across the refinery....

Rapidly became as I remember it a unifier, where people you maybe didn't even like normally became allies in determination against a common enemy....

The years that led to the end of all that national spirit went by fast...

Jim Forsythe

George, I was in my office when 9/11 happen.

The authentic unity the people of the USA showed after 9/11 and Pearl harbor, will be seen again, if something like 9/11 or Pearl Harbor happens again.

We have a history of fighting with each other, but if one of us is attacked from the outside, we are all attacked.

Think about WW1 and then the Depression and dust bowl. People were worn out and lost for direction. My Grandpa begged the bank to take the farm, but the bank refused because they already had to many farms, they had to repossess. They told him try and pay the taxes.

This was during the years leading up to WW11. Most Americans at that time did not want to get into another war, but Japan made the mistake of attacking us, and then it was on.

George Croix

What about when attacked from inside, old friend?

Jim Forsythe

George, if you are talking about what is going on as far as political, that will pass as it has in the past. I do not think we are more divided now, as we were after the Civil War, and we survived that time.

What is happening now is that parties are changing themselves and will emerge as different parties in the future. You can see it in that there are more Independents then say Democrats or even Republicans.

The time for new leadership is just around the corner and with the change in leadership we will be a different county.

What is important to all, is that we as a whole, is that every person in America can disagree with each other, but still stand with each.

But we have had other dark times, and we still stand.

The USA still stands after being attack from within. Some examples.

Tim McVeigh and the OKC Murrah Federal Building attack. Eric Rudolph and the Olympic Park bombing. Boston Marathon Bombing. Pulse Night Club. Numerous attacks by crazed military personnel on or near military bases. School shootings. Las Vegas shooting. With these and other bad things that we have done to ourselves, we are still standing strong.

George Croix

I hope you’re right, Jim.

In the times you mention, we still knew the difference between men and women, didn’t have to provide safe spaces for neurotics upset by an errant breeze, preferred pronouns were not a reason to lose a job, and we valued using all of Americas resources to make ourselves stronger and more prosperous….

We certainly seem to be heading for a victory like Pyrrhus vs one like Patton…

Jim Forsythe

George, all that you posted are just point each party's uses to rally the troops, to get votes. One example is the thing with gender, will work itself out, before long.

How many people you know really care about this issue? Has this issue really effected most people lives to the extent that they cannot be happy, because of it?

We, the USA has always had issues that some people gave more weight, then it deserved.

All of these types of distractions will pass, as they have in the past.

If you look at the history of Presidents, since the 60's, you will notice that when a President term or terms is over, the other party comes into power in the form of a President. This is an indication that all the distraction, are just that, distractions' that have no long-term staying power.

In the 50's we had a red under every bed and the start of trouble in Vietnam. In the 60's we had riots along with a war and killing of people in power. The 70' started with the Nixion thing and was a time of unrest because of this. The 80's gave us inflation and the start with trouble in the middle east. Each of the following decades had their problems.

We have gone thru more trying times then now, and what is happening now will just be a spot in history in the near future.

George Croix

That's all, huh....just talking points....

Tell that to the people who lost jobs over the wrong pronoun or refusing to condone mixed sexes in the shower. as but one tiny area...

How about the ones not allowed to speak, cancelled, because their words are not what others want to hear.

That. too, is not universal, but it is pervasive. In fact, someplaces, it's the rule.

The problem is not that such type tripe is in everyone's head...of course it's not. America is still a majority of good citizens, and the loud mouthed troublemakers just get the press.

The press.

The problem is we depend now more on than ever in history on being told what is real or good or bad by nothing more than a collection of bytes on a phone screen....

It's like accepting as fact every day all day that your blind date WILL be me.

Too many people just accept whatever someone else says from sources friendly to their personal thought process and avoid thinking about it. Saves time. Saves introspection.

It's a cancer, Jim...and cancer always starts out small, and, untreated, gets bigger....

Personally, I'm not happy with just surviving...of course we'll survive. But, as what... I I want BETTER for my family than what I had...and we are now, right now, under the way things have evolved, not heading in that direction, or else a majority of our citizens would not believe, or say they do, that they expect their family's future to be worse than now...even our life expectancy is dropping, not increasing....

It's not doom and gloom to face facts.....

As we both know, cheerleaders don't play the game....players do.....

Gary Scoggin

Jim = glass half full

George = glass half empty

I like and respect you both nut you have very different world views.

George Croix

Ones world view is shaped irreparably by one's personal life experiences, Gary.

Including where one spent a majority of their adult life...and under what conditions and circumstances.

Speaking only for my own, failure to anticipate and try to prepare for the worst, vs the best, got things blown/burned up, and people hurt, maimed, or killed. And a personal waltz in to try and clean it up...

Jim and I generally have always, imho, come at the same sorta nearly close to it center point from pretty much opposite directions. That's a good thing....Jim's an excellent source and resource....

If you are going into a bad situation, current or anticipated to come, work or elsewhere, do NOT pair up with someone just like you...pick a near opposite...then it's more likely fewer things are missed, and you both come out still able to count to 20 with your fingers and toes....

Every game needs cheerleaders, until the ball is snapped.....then, you better be ready to play...

Gary Scoggin

George, I didn't say either world view is bad, just different. You are right, our views are shaped by our experiences. When it comes to half full - half empty, my view is that I need another drink.


BTW - in your last paragraph you outline the business case for diversity. How progressive of you!

George Croix

I didn't say you did, Gary.

I tend to keep my thoughts on the lines, visible, not hidden between's one reason I retired as a Sr. Supv. and not a Supt.....or, so I was told....multiple times.....chuckle....

Make that drink cold Diet Coke, and I'm in...

Try and find an example of my ever NOT supporting diversity in business as a business case....if you can, I'll buy those drinks.

And some M&Ms PB candy for a chaser...

Jim Forsythe

Since the USA became the USA, we have always had people lose jobs over issues.

Some were denied jobs for various reason such as being the wrong sex or not looking like the person in charge.

How many people personally do you know that has lost a job because of not calling a person the right thing. I know many that lost their job because of what they sent in an e-mail to other people or what they watched on the internet at work. One person at BP sent a picture of his private's and the person that received it took offence, they were fired. One must know the rules and follow them.

One of the easier ways to not have to worry about that type of thing is ask a person how they want to be addressed.

I myself if asked, will tell someone to call me Jim. I will also introduce myself as Jim Forsythe but call me Jim. I have never said, I'm a male and address me as----

When I first came to Texas I got into trouble at school because I did not call a teacher, sir.

When one works for an employer, they need to ask the question, how you want me to handle issues like the shower thing. Then the rules need to be posted so all parties involved know how to handle it.

At work we all knew the rules, and if I failed to follow them, a person like yourself (supervisor) had no choice but to enforce the rules The same is true for the person that works where a showers become an issue. If all know the rules, no problems should happen. Part of being a employer is setting the rules so one has to question how to handle issues.

Part of being a grownup is taking reasonably to know what is expected of you and how your employers want you to handle issues.

When I first came to training, I was told what I could say, and what I could not say, and given examples. One Superintendent told me never tell a joke because most if not all jokes make fun of a person or a group.

One person did not follow this and was no longer in training. What he said was, something about cowboying up, and a person in class took exception to this. This was 20 years ago, so being upset about word use, is nothing new.

I have a 2ed cousin that is no longer a girl and the way that they handle this issue, because they go a different name is, my name is ----. and gender Is never an issue because it not something people normally talk about.

An operator at a Chemical plant in Texas City, change from male to Female and that's person supervisor, who is a friend of mine, and all workers were give instruction how to handle address this issue. How the company handled it, they asked the person how they wanted to address. The same is. true for the cross-dressing operator we had. BP asked him if he wanted to change how he was addressed and he said no. He also had a website that some other operators followed.

A teacher in Oklahoma lost her job because she gave out the web address for a library not approved by the school she worked for. I think that is wrong, but I'm not going to let it drag me down.

George Croix

Part of this nation's problem is that millions are forced to 'handle the issues' of a few people...imho...

Too many would prefer that all in the lifeboat perrish...equitably....

Ted Gillis

Mixed races in the showers? Really George? When has that ever been a thing, other than with people on the right. Oh yes, your Mike Huckabee and Ted Cruz types love to titillate their base about it, but it’s just a made up thing. Most people are mature enough to understand that. In fact I went to Europe in 1973 with a group of catholic high school students. The tour had us staying at youth hostels in locations like in France and Italy. The facilities were built with showers for all. The girls wore their bath robes and the guys wrapped themselves in a towel until you got into a shower and then pulled your curtain shut behind you. We were able to maturely figure this out even as 17 and 18 year olds. And none of us where harmed by the event, and there were no politicians waiting to make hay about it either.

Look nobody is forcing you to do anything. If you want to crawl into a time warp or live in a static bubble, you are allowed to do so. This country in big enough for all that. This is the USA, the greatest country on earth.

George Croix

I didn't say anything about mixed races in the showers, Ted.

The rest is irrelevant, since public schools are not voluntarily visited like hostels are, and colleges are selected, not assigned, and no public school or college I ever saw has individualized shower facilities....

Do they do now?

I admit I have not seen them all...

Even then, is it good to have school age males hanging out in the school age girls' locker room...or vice versa...

Some think so....

Not me....



Ted Gillis

Well that typed out pretty stupid.

It should have read mixed “sexes” in the shower.

Sorry about that.

Carlos Ponce

Freudian slip?

George Croix

Ted, for whatever reason this 10:37 post wasn’t up yet when I replied to that first one an hour later, or I’d have duly noted your correction. No buggy…

The rest of mine would have been the same, anyway…..

George Croix



Can’t be us…must be a ‘glitch’….


George Croix

Anyway, all this other stuff aside, another 9/11 has come and gone.

A fast 21 years.

Hopefully, like said yesterday across the nation, enough of us will remember it as what happens when our guard is let down, and how we CAN respond as a nation when we slip up and get hit for it. Remember the thousands who perished through no fault of their own, and the hundreds who died trying to save them, selflessly giving all for people they didn't even know. Remember that our fellow good citizens are not our enemies. That disagreement is not an assault on us, but a valued right that others died nearly 250 years ago for.....


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