10 May 2006

The Silent Sentinels, Flight 93 and You

We live with them, amongst them and disregard them totally. Give them the barest of consideration necessary and then only just that, unless something *needs* to be done. They guard us and protect us in their own way and fashion, keeping us safe so that we may lead lives safer from harm. They are the Silent Sentinels and they do just as they are made to. We call them buildings, and only in danger do they get any real regard in our lives.

Flight 93 gave the first active response by We the People to the Global War on Transnational Terrorism. The people on this flight knew that it was headed to do no good via means of modern communications. They knew the result of inaction. And they adhered to the Preamble of the United States constitution and did, indeed, "...provide for the common defense..." They gave their lives so that the land they cherished would not suffer another blow from those who would tear it down and, in doing so, gave the first active response to terrorists who sought such. And when you feel your guts wrench it is because you know that they felt, deep down, that their responsibilities came before anything. By taking a gamble they won the long-term bet and lost the short-term. We honor our fallen Citizens and others here lawfully who only wanted to build lives and dreams within this land that gave them their head to try and do so. They showed the American People what must be done, if We the People could only listen.

And the Silent Sentinels? They gave the powerful FIRST response to those that sought to destroy them. Consider each of the buildings hit: the Twin Towers and the Pentagon. Each actively housed about the same number of people going to work. No one had planned for a fully fueled jumbo jet crashing into them, although the Twin Towers designers had considered a low, slow 707 going through the fog and heading to an airport hitting one of the towers. And the Pentagon was only designed to take continuous shelling from German Naval vessels for a number of hours with its steel reinforced concrete structure. Designed to look like the heart of a fortress it *is* a heart of a fortress. During the Cold War a marker was erected in the very center open area and the food service area became known as the 'Ground Zero Cafe', for it would take a nuclear device to actually wipe the building out in one shot.

These Sentinels served and protected as best as they were designed to do. The Pentagon side that was hit was one that had just been thoroughly renovated to add in DTRA retrofits that would make the office spaces more blast resistant and safer from the spread of fires. Cables and conduits had been pulled and many plugged while modern fiber optic cables replaced them. The ancient and encrusted piping was removed/replaced/refurbished. In all it became a showcase for the best technology around to improve safety against car bombs and such. But the thing that stopped the jet from doing any more damage was the layered structure of the building itself and the fact it was made of concrete. It takes quite a bit to destroy such an edifice and it will not go down easily, save with the most destructive of devices known to mankind. No mere fully fueled jumbo jet was going to do more than wound the Pentagon, that building meant to shrug off the might of aerial and naval bombardment from a bygone modern war.

The Twin Towers, however, were made to offer office space and safety for the people that worked within it. By putting the structural supports on the outside and a solid center to the building it pioneered a new way of making skyscrapers that offered spaciousness and support with no loss of safety. Both were attacked viciously, cruelly and with the intent of instantly bringing each down. And a Nation stood in shock and amazement that each still STOOD even when we saw the second jet crash into the towers. We looked on in absolute disbelief. Structural engineers could not believe their eyes, as they knew that such a hit would take out 50% or so of the structural support capability of the building. Name a building that can actually *absorb* that hit and is *not* a fortress and STILL STAND. Bridges? Tunnels? Your home or apartment building?

The First Response was given by the Twin Towers and the Pentagon. The Towers, like mighty giants taking a grievous blow shifted and compensated almost instantly to redistribute the weight of the floors above the damage to those structural members still intact. The fire afterwards, 10,000 gallons of jet fuel and the combustibles in tens of offices sealed their fate. But they had been built well and redundantly and stood, served and protected offering those inside the *chance* to escape and survive. For over an hour each stood while the fires ate away at their internal supports, which slowly softened and twisted then fell away, requiring redistribution of mass *continuously*. Until the remaining portion could not withstand the great weight, so that when they gave way they gave way as a unit, pancaking downwards. And even in that they gave one final safety: they roared as they fell, but did NOT topple to hurt other buildings by putting the mass of the tower against them. Large chunks did fly off and did much damage, but the intention of the Terrorists to take out more of the skyline itself failed.

We may give thanks for these Silent Sentinels, but we have no way of thanking them directly.

But, by putting such up We the People take on the responsibility of protecting *them* so that they may protect us in turn. And so we did on Flight 93. While some buildings suffering harm from the collapse of the Twin Towers also fell, the grand scheme of trying to ruin New York City and Washington in ways that would make us shirk from Our responsibilities did not happen. From there the Terrible Swift Sword of the Republic was brought out and used deftly to fight foes and delink Transnational Terrorists from Totalitarian States.

But the cutting edge of that great blade, the military of the United States, did *not* strike the first blow in return. The flat of that Great Blade did, allowing some damage to happen but in ways that would not grievously wound the Union and then We the People backed that up by denying the final blow to strike at ALL.

The wonderful Edge of that Great Sword is the military of the United States. It is well honed and tempered and comes to a wondrous point. But the Sword itself IS We the People. If the military runs hot it is only a reflection of the temperature of We the People, which is blazing.

Our foes seek to bind us with our notions that the State shall provide us with protection.

Those on Flight 93 gave us the reminder that WE ARE OUR OWN PROTECTORS.

When I call for Congress to use its War Powers and unleash We the People to do harm to our enemies it is that blazing heft of the Terrible Great Sword of the Republic I look to. So that We the People may become engaged in this war that threatens the very concept of Nation on a Global Scale.

That is how one honors their protectors: by ensuring their survival so that they may *continue* protecting us.


Bloviating Zeppelin said...


We ARE our own protectors.

To think otherwise is to be deluded.

Only some minutes after Flight 93 had been downed was the federal government able to even fashion ROE to deal with the threat. And by that time, of course, that threat-set was indeed OVER.

The military FUBARed their entire "response" on 09-11.

And so it is with local police and sheriff departments. In this world you are well and truly on your own. The less you depend on government the happier you will be.


Very nice to see you accepting comments, BTW.

A Jacksonian said...

Mr. Z - As the Preamble lays out all that We the People must do, one of those things is 'provide for the common defense' even if it means your body and life to do so.

As with all else in the Constitution, the responsibilities are laid out first, the means follow, but no matter what, if the means do not allow you to fulfill the responsibilities, you still must do so. President, Congressman, Supreme Court Justice, AND We the People. That is the compact we make amongst ourselves, and the responsibility is ultimately that of We the People.

We have fashioned a mighty military complex that no other on this planet may match. But it cannot do the impossible and be everywhere and do everything. It is but the mere edge of the Sword of the Republic.

That is why I seek to bring a Union of the State's right to self-preservation and the People's right to keep and bear arms... beyond Federal control, so that We the People as CITIZENS may take the welfare of States that give such warrant into Our own hands when *nothing* else is there. That requires due process and laws... and a new way of adjudicating things... but only if We the People, in Our States assert the right of a Free People to carry out their Responsibilities with cognizance of the Law and what must be done to keep ourselves safe.

I thank you for your comment, Mr. Z! It was a very free-form post and I was tiring by the end, but worth it.


PS - Opened up comments so as to keep the place alive while in tired straights