Dave Hodges

More About: Bill of Rights

Where Were You When…………?

Seminal events can drastically alter the course of history. For my parent's generation, Pearl Harbor was their defining event. "Where were you when JFK was shot" was the question which became a familiar refrain for members of my generation. Today, people ask where were you when the events of 911 took place?

I am old enough to remember where I was on the tragic day of JFK's death. I was young elementary child who was playing basketball on the playground at North Elementary in Littleton, Colorado, when we were summoned in from our lunch break and we were subsequently told that President Kennedy had been shot. We looked to our teachers to help us understand how such a great man could be murdered in cold blood. Little did any of America's children realize that the Kennedy Assassination was to become the defining event of our generation.

I am one who believes that if the beloved JFK had survived to serve another term, we would not have had the full scale escalation in Vietnam beyond the small number of combat advisors and would have not needlessly sacrificed the lives of 58,000 young American soldiers. The country would not have suffered the polarization between the government and the citizens. It is common knowledge that Kennedy was working towards reducing the arms race with the Soviets and perhaps, we would not have fully embarked on a path of bankrupting, or killing, future generations of American. I grew up believing that the crazed communist assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, killed my President. I know no longer believe that to be true. In some ways, our nation has not fully recovered from this event. Many of us on that day mourned for our dying King. Today, there are new reasons to mourn.

Almost thirty eight years later, I experienced another seminal event in our nation's history. The event, of course, is 911. Again, I remember where I was in those first horrible moments as I was in my kitchen having breakfast. My first reaction was to believe that this was a tragic accident. I held that belief for exactly 17 minutes (i.e., the time lapse between the two towers being struck). As I left for work, the Pentagon was attacked and I knew we were at war. I assumed that some rogue nation which sponsored terrorism was responsible and we would soon be invading those who were responsible. As most Americans did during the early years following the JFK assassination, I believed my government's explanation for the tragic events which transpired both in November of 1963 and September of 2001.

It has been decades since I came to realize that JFK's death did not take place in the manner in which it was presented. I may be experiencing a similar epiphany with regard to 911. For over four years following 911, I thought all the conspiracy talk about 911 was from individuals who had forgotten to take their daily dose of Haldol. Today, I have many unanswered questions about the official explanation of events on that tragic day. I am not prepared to say that 911 was an inside job. I am not ready to lend my name to 911 Scholars for Truth.com, at least not yet. But I am asking questions that need to be answered by my government before this event further polarizes this country as did the aftermath of events following the JFK Assassination.

I have watched with interest as public officials viciously attack any teacher, professor or researcher for daring to question the 911 Commission findings. I too, have serious doubts about the validity of the findings of the 911 Commission. The findings are neither complete nor completely believable in their present form. Here is a brief and partial summary of my unanswered questions:

1. Why was the video of the Mineta testimony removed from the 9/11 Commission website?

2. The "coincidence" of Able Danger.

3. The failure of the Government to release the many videotapes of the plane, on approach, that struck the Pentagon is suspect at best.

4. The change in the scramble/intercept procedure three months prior to 911 for jets that are off course accompanied by a change in the shoot down orders.

5.The failure of the government to scramble jets over a period of an hour and twenty eight minutes between the Twin Towers being struck and the crash in Pennsylvania.

6. The linking of the events of 9/11 to Iraq's leader, Saddam Hussein, which we now know was based on unfounded claims and fraudulent evidence.

7. The well documented (e.g., Kevin Phillips) Bush/Cheney plans to invade both Afghanistan and Iraq within the first 10 days of the Bush Administration. This was well in advance of 911. However, 911 was used as the excuse in the early days of our military action.

8. The well documented engineering and architectural arguments which, in my mind clearly demonstrate that the fire and heat generated by the planes striking the Twin Towers were insufficient to melt the core of the buildings. The evidence just does not support the 911 Commission findings.

9. The almost near free-fall collapse of all three towers which defies the official explanation.

10. Where are the pieces of plane wings that supposedly struck light poles on its approach to the Pentagon?

11. Why does the circumference of the hole in the Pentagon greatly differ from the width of the plane? Why is there an exit hole on the backside of the building since the plane melted upon impact? Where is the debris field that one would expect on the backside of the building? The attack appears to any layman who looks at this evidence to look more like a missile strike than an airplane crash.

12. With all the large buildings that have been struck by planes, why are the Twin Towers the only ones to collapse in a pancake fashion similar to a planned demolition? And, what about the pop outs?

13. Where are the skid marks on the lawn prior to impact at the Pentagon?

14. What about the evidence which strongly suggests that 11 nations warned us about the possibility of such an attack?

If terrorists gained access to the Towers and planted bombs, then tell us. If a missile struck the Pentagon, then say so. Until the tapes of the Pentagon incident are released, this will prove to be fertile conspiracy ground. For myself, I have not yet jumped on the conspiracy bandwagon. However, I know that justice cannot be served until the findings are completely presented in the light of day. This defining event in American History is too important for the American people to buy the old, worn-out argument that some evidence must be withheld in the interest of national security.

On this day of the five year anniversary of 911, I still vividly remember the images of the firemen and policemen rushing into the burning towers to their deaths in a desperate and unbelievably brave attempt to save lives. My thoughts drift to the young children who lost their mom or their dad on that day. I think of how many single parents were created in New York City on 911. I also think of the courage and bravery of the medical teams who are suffering horrible and often fatal lung disorders from the inhalation of the dust particles.

I also mourn for my nation and the future generations of young Americans, like my son, which lost their Republican form of government as a result of 911. I feel compelled to ask that even if the 911 Commission's findings are 100% true and accurate, is this a sufficient enough of a reason to sacrifice huge segments of our Constitution in the name of national security?

With the passage of the Patriot Act (I & II), we have moved much closer to a Police State and the Constitutional ideals that I grew up honoring are quickly disappearing in the rear view mirror of the 20th century. To safeguard America, our government now finds it necessary to goose granny at the airport, limit how much baby formula you can take onto a plane, eavesdrop on calls, read our emails and faxes without a warrant, put transponders in our passports, intrude into our bank accounts, issue a national ID card in 2008, demand to know what books we check out of the library, constitutionally protected government protestors can end up on "no-fly" lists and on and on and on…….

I have heard numerous Americans say that "We are at war. We must be willing to trade our freedoms so the government can protect us". If the first casualty of the war against terror is the United States Constitution, then we have already lost the war. Sacrificing our freedoms will not bring back the 3,000+ victims of 911. Nor will it likely prevent another attack.

Is the world really safer since President Bush embarked on his aggressive foreign policy? The financial health of the oil companies is greatly improved, but what about the fiscal health of the nation and its citizens? Has America's friends and allies increased since the invasion of Iraq and our so-called war on terror, or have they greatly diminished? And what about our reputation? Well, we all know the answer to these questions.

I remember when Nixon was forced to resign from office. The familiar refrain that the nation heard was that even in the darkest of days, our Constitution survives. I do not believe this to be the case with the war on terror. Our Constitution is on life support and it is dying. On September 11, 2001, we not only tragically lost 3,000 of our fellow citizens; we lost our way of life. Everything which uniquely separates America from other countries is quickly disappearing. We can best honor the memories of our fallen Americans by restoring the rule of law to our country. Regardless if you are a believer in the 911 Commission Report, a 911 conspiracy theorist or just a person, like myself, with a lot of unanswered questions, 911 ushered in a new era which promises to change the face of America forever.

As with me on the playground the day that JFK was killed, children just like my son, and your children, do not realize the impact of 911 with regard to the freedoms that they have lost on that tragic day. But unless we reverse of our present course, they will come to suffer the consequences of 911 in ways that we cannot begin to imagine.

"Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither".

Ben Franklin

In 1963, we cried for John Kennedy. On 911, we cried for our lost loved ones. Today we cry for our lost liberties.

Someday, your children may be asking you "Where were you when we lost our country and its liberties?"

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