Offspring#2 steps into our bedroom and says:
“Do you know what's going on in New York?”
My wife Karen and I look at each other, baffled.
“Better turn on the TV,” says Offspring#2.
Black smoke is rising from one of the Twin Towers. A newscaster tells us that a passenger jet airliner has hit the World Trade Center.
Ariel, our son, senses that something is happening. He tears himself away from his Talmud
study and steps into our bedroom, gazes at the TV screen.
“How many people work there?” Ariel asks.
“Thousands, tens of thousands, it's an entire world.”
Ariel is home from Ner Israel Rabbinical Academy
. Recently, he recovered from a brain tumor, from years of massive chemotherapy and radiation. It's so good to have him home. Karen and I are thankful for every moment with our sweet and pious son.
And then the second plane hits. There is a terrible bloom of fire and I realize that jet fuel has probably incinerated hundreds of human beings.
We are blown into a horrific new age.
There is no doubt in my mind that Arab terror has finally come to the American mainland.
I remember thinking: Now maybe Americans will understand what Israel endures on a daily basis.
I grip Ariel's hand.
“Too tight, Dad.”
Ariel recites Tehillim
The Twin Towers look like a post-modern Vesuvias. Abruptly, one after the next, they collapse — flatten like toys.
We watch endless replays.
And then it happens, the very first signs that some Americans cannot, do not, will not understand.
Newscasters refer to the Twin Towers attacks as a "tragedy."
Ariel says: “Daddy, this isn't a tragedy, it's an atrocity
I nod my head in agreement.
“Why do they call it a tragedy?”
“Because they don't understand evil.”
died two years after 9-11—the effects of the chemotherapy ravaged his lungs—at the tender age of twenty-two.
Flood, fires, and plagues are tragedies.
Our son's death was a tragedy.
We could not control it. Fighting the cancer, the effects of the chemotherapy and the radiation, was battling a force of nature.
Ariel was right; 9/11 was no tragedy, it was an atrocity
, and if you cannot recognize evil, well, how can you fight it?
Unfortunately, there are many Americans who are clueless about evil, and so they have no idea how to properly memorialize those who were slaughtered on 9/11. And the most fitting memorial for those who were so cruelly murdered in the air and on the ground is never to forget, and to relentlessly strike back at our Islamist enemies wherever they are — until they are but dust and ashes.