It has only been in these past few months that I have been able, compelled actually, to read books and other material about that day, September 11, 2001. For nearly nine years, it was still too close, too personal, and I was barely able to even say that date without tearing up. Then suddenly, a few weeks or months ago, I felt a compulsion to devour the same material that I had previously shunned. Why? I think I am hoping to understand two things: Why and How. The answer to the first is elusive, subjective, and has been the topic of so much speculation that I suspect we’ll never be able to fully understand. The people who might actually be able to explain it to us are either dead or are in hiding and will be dead as soon as they emerge, not to mention that they are not likely to be honest anyway. So the odds are against us ever receiving a first-hand explanation. And in fact, at the same time I am frustrated in my attempt to understand, I realize that I will never understand, even if it were explained to me, because in my code of ethics or value system, there can be no reason for the mass destruction of thousands of innocent people. I think that if anybody can truly understand this, then they are cut of the same cloth as the terrorists/murderers who perpetrated this heinous crime. The answer to the second question, the “how”, is more achievable, at least to some extent, although I don’t believe we have all the facts nor ever will. We have a number of facts and many have interpolated the missing details, so we have a fairly accurate model of the timeframe, the players and financiers, the “who, what, when and where” if you will. Thus far I have read two books and numerous internet articles and the one thing I can say about them all is that I am learning things I didn’t know, but that I can only read for a half hour or so before I need a break. Another time, another subject, I could happily read for hours at a time, if left uninterrupted by outside distractions, but not this topic. I stop when I feel myself getting incredibly sad or angry. I remember the days after 9/11, I couldn’t tear myself away from the coverage, even though there was little that was new, it was mostly repetitious, but yet I had to watch. When our little one, who was seven at the time, began to show signs of “disaster overload”, I did the responsible thing and turned the television to Nickelodeon or Disney, channels that continued their regular programming for the most part, and then I went upstairs and stared at the television in the bedroom. We had two televisions at work, and I went to watch them as often as possible, then stayed glued to the television at home until two or three in the morning, slept a couple of hours, then turned it back on as soon as my eyes opened. It was overload and it was not healthy, but I, like so many others, was powerless to break the pattern. And then one day, I couldn’t absorb any more. I was like a sponge that had been sitting in a lake full of water for weeks and I knew, if not on a fully conscious level, then at least my subconscious had some good sense, that I was destroying myself and needed to get out of the lake. Even now, I feel guilty for saying things like, “You can’t change what happened”, and “You have to go on with your life”, but it is true. However, we can never forget. We must never forget! Much like the Holocaust, to forget is to condemn ourselves to repeating it, and that is unthinkable. So we seek to answer those two questions, Why and How, in hopes to understand at least enough to prevent another 9/11 from ever happening.