When it comes right down to it, there is only one question which remains unanswered from the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
As we are about to look back on the first decade following the most catastrophic event to occur on American soil, most of us may reflect on how our lives have changed in the years since 9/11. Some people are still haunted by the images they remember from that fateful day, others forever angered by the acts of cowardice intended to punish our country simply for living free.
Interestingly, in the first issue of the Island Reporter following Sept. 11, 2001, five stories dominated the front page:
The community gathering in support of 9/11 victims and their families
An alligator killing a longtime resident and environmental advocate
City Council approving the proposed budget and previous year's tax rate
Judie Zimomra being appointed Sanibel City Manager
The herbicide poisoning of five Australian pines on Periwinkle Way
We found these stories interesting for several reasons.
First, because - other than the article related to Australian pines, which were all but eliminated along Periwinkle Way three years later by Hurricane Charley - many of yesteryear's headlines remain as relevant in 2011 as they were in 2001.
Zimomra, for example, is about to celebrate her 10th anniversary as City Manager. The council will convene this weekend to complete the first public hearing on next year's proposed budget, which had been introduced in July with a millage rate identical to last year's final approved rate. And the debate continues over the city's so-called "controversial" Nuisance Alligator Policy, enacted in the months following the fatal incident.
Second, because after nearly 10 years, islanders - and nearly every American we have spoken to - still wonder why we were attacked. Why would our country be hated for the freedoms we enjoy? In retaliation to the attacks, who do we intend on punishing in our continuing "War on Terrorism," and will that war ever end? Is there hope that our children will live in a world where everybody lives by the "Golden Rule" most of us were raised by: "One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself." And why, even after a decade, does the pain of 9/11 still feel like a new wound?
Why? Unfortunately, we may never know the answers.
On this Sept. 11, we are encouraging our readers to gather with our fellow Southwest Floridians at the Broadway Palm Dinner Theater and attend their "Remember 9/11 Tenth Year" program, which begins at 11:30 a.m. Tickets are complimentary and available at the Broadway Palm ticket office, located at 1380 Colonial Boulevard in Fort Myers.
Several islanders will be a part of the program, including Sanibel art gallery owner Leoma Lovegrove, who will debut her 18-foot-by-10-foot patriotic mural - with the name of every 9/11 victim painted on it - along with guest speakers Sandra Stilwell and Jason Maughan. In addition, several members of NYPD Local 1013 will take part in the event.
Remember the fallen, honor the heroes and hope for all mankind. We pray that after 10 years, some additional healing will take place. And, above all, peace will be in our future.
- Reporter editorial