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Rotary Happenings: Speaker reminds – ‘Let us Never Forget’

By Staff | Sep 23, 2020

John Henshaw

Most of us can remember very clearly where we were and what we were doing on that day. Sept. 11, 2001. A day in history that will never be forgotten. A day when we were not a Democrat or Republican, we were American.

Sanibel-Captiva Rotarian John Henshaw was the U.S. Assistant Secretary of Labor and Director for OSHA during that time. He was nominated by President George W. Bush on June 13, 2001 and was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on Aug. 3, 2001 to head the Occupational Safety and Health Administration; a position he held until January 1, 2005. He shared with us some of his experiences and the role OSHA played in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. John, as head of OSHA, assisted during the search & rescue and cleanup efforts that continued for over 10 months. 

The World Trade Center was built in 1967, before OSHA even existed. It was 110 stories high and designed to withstand a collision with a 707, the largest plane at that time, in the event that it was lost in the NY fog. A magnificent example of architecture. Never did a terrorist attack cross the minds of anyone. However, on Sept. 11, 2001, at 8:46 a.m. the call of “A plane just crashed into the World Trade Center” came in. It hit at approximately the 80th floor of the North Tower. At 9:03 a.m., 18 minutes later, another plane hit the South Town at the 60th floor, on live television. Never in anyone’s minds, could something this horrific happen, much less in front of us as we were glued to our televisions. At 9:59 a.m., the South Tower collapsed, again on live television. A part of every American died that day.

A total of 2,977 people lost their lives that day; 343 firefighters and paramedics, 23 New York City Policemen, 37 Port Authority Police Officers with even more perishing at the Pentagon and in a field in Pennsylvania. A very sad day, to say the very least. Let us Never Forget.

In light of COVID-19, the Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club meets on Fridays at 7:30 a.m. via Zoom. To take part, call 239-472-7257. For more information, visit sanibelrotary.org or www.facebook.com/sancaprotary.