default avatar
Welcome to the site! Login or Signup below.
Logout|My Dashboard

Gwin Mitchell Paden Recalling World Trade Center trip — and most deserving 9/11 heroes

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Gwin Paden

Posted: Saturday, September 10, 2011 12:00 am | Updated: 9:59 am, Sat Sep 10, 2011.

Ten years have passed all too quickly since a malevolent, fanatic enemy chose to strike unexpectedly at symbolic buildings in New York and Washington. Like the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, innocent people were violently killed while going about their own daily lives, civilian or military.

I have not been to Pearl Harbor, with its poignant memorial, but some 30 years ago or so I did visit one of the towers. It was a unique experience: swooping up and up in an elevator, than farther up on an escalator which went to the viewing level and all those gigantic windows.

I did not realize how much a building that high could respond to regular winds until I saw the supports between windows move against stationary smokestacks on the New Jersey side of the Hudson River. In front of all the windows on all four sides, there were tiers of concrete steps/seats where one could look straight down to the street (the windows slanted inwards at the bottom). That was another dizzying experience.

Climbing a short flight of steps led to the open walkway on the very top of the building. The view was magnificent — and the wind was strong. I was thankful that the walkways were well in from the edges; I have no head for heights at all!

Those who worked in or visited the buildings felt secure; there was no reason not to. And those who worked in or visited the Pentagon felt secure, too. (I visited that building in 1946. It was a mystic maze!)

But that feeling of security vanished on Sept. 11, 2001. Our country was brought face-to-face with the fact that we were — and are — up against an enemy with no sense of tolerance for any other way of life, or even existence, than their own.

Just as Pearl Harbor was a shot across our bows that started the largest of "civilized" wars that people were used to fighting, the attack on the towers needs to be seen as a similar prologue to a possible war of an entirely new sort; guerilla warfare on a gigantic scale.

I sincerely hope that we can stay alert and prevent this kind of devastation from happening again. There are so many more areas in which we are vulnerable that it will take all of us, not just military or governmental leaders, to keep this country safe. During WWII, the whole country came together in loyalty and personal selflessness.

For a short time, that happened after 9/11. It's time we realize that patriotism is a real and necessary factor, if we want this country to stay the way it was meant to be — a republic of free citizens.

The ordinary citizens on the plane meant to target the White House fully realized this, and unselfishly chose a deliberate death for themselves rather than let the enemy triumph in more destruction. If anyone is honored on Sept. 11 on this or any other year, it should be these patriots.

More about

More about

More about

Rules of Conduct

  • 1 Use your real name. You must register with your full first and last name before you can comment. (And don’t pretend you’re someone else.)
  • 2 Keep it clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually oriented language.
  • 3 Don’t threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
  • 4 Be truthful. Don't lie about anyone or anything. Don't post unsubstantiated allegations, rumors or gossip that could harm the reputation of a person, company or organization.
  • 5 Be nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
  • 6 Stay on topic. Make sure your comments are about the story. Don’t insult each other.
  • 7 Tell us if the discussion is getting out of hand. Use the ‘Report’ link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
  • 8 Share what you know, and ask about what you don't.
  • 9 Don’t be a troll.
  • 10 Don’t reveal personal information about other commenters. You may reveal your own personal information, but we advise you not to do so.
  • 11 We reserve the right, at our discretion, to monitor, delete or choose not to post any comment. This may include removing or monitoring posts that we believe violate the spirit or letter of these rules, or that we otherwise determine at our discretion needs to be monitored, not posted, or deleted.

Welcome to the discussion.

Recent Comments

Posted 24 hours ago by Jeff Tillett.

Posted Yesterday by Angie McDaniel.

article: Letter: Leaders to blame for police dea…

How about following the law in return for a little respect from the cops? How about acknowledging the fact that our police risk their lives…


Posted Yesterday by Brian Dockter.

article: Letter: Leaders to blame for police dea…

Thomas stated: Is there no holiday for the malcontents? I mean it's xmas. -Exactly, Or do you not consider the protestors who vandalized…


Posted Yesterday by Brian Dockter.

Posted Yesterday by Brian Dockter.

article: Letter: Leaders to blame for police dea…

Shane, Has the thought ever crossed your mind that many of these officers were in fear of their civil rights being violated and they had t…



Popular Stories


Vote on the biggest local story in 2014: See poll below

It has been an eventful year in Lodi, from the antics of a wild turkey named Tom Kettleman to the announced closure of the General Mills plant. What do you see as the biggest story of the year?

Total Votes: 294


Your News

News for the community, by the community.

Mailing List

Subscribe to a mailing list to have daily news sent directly to your inbox.

  • Breaking News

    Would you like to receive breaking news alerts? Sign up now!

  • News Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily news headlines? Sign up now!

  • Sports Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily sports headlines? Sign up now!

Manage Your Lists