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September 10, 2006

September 10th, 2001

The Arizona Republic has an excellent story about September 10th, 2001. Here are some highlights:

The big news of the day in the Valley was the new Cardinals Stadium. Not the now-opened shiny spaceship in Glendale; the new Cardinals Stadium in Tempe that never was.

Construction had been halted two months earlier when the Federal Aviation Administration declared the Tempe site a risk to planes on final approach to Sky Harbor International Airport. Impatient to move ahead, the state Tourism and Sports Authority voted 7-0 to resume construction and order $2 million worth of steel trusses - trusses that never would be used.

The Cardinals were practicing for their season opener. They'd had an unwelcome bye the first week of the regular season and were eager to get going against the Redskins in Washington next Sunday. The game would be postponed to Jan. 6, 2002, with the Cardinals losing 20-17. Pat Tillman would make seven tackles and have two assists in that game, his last.

Hani Hanjour had waited for tomorrow for a decade, since 1991 when he settled in Tucson from Saudi Arabia and tried to learn English. He was miserable at it. Hanjour had a 0.26 grade point average at the University of Arizona.

He was just as bad trying to learn to be a pilot. He received a commercial pilot's license in 1999, but two years later, instructors at JetTech flight school in Phoenix told FAA officials they couldn't imagine how Hanjour passed the tests. His English was still horrible. And as one instructor said: "He could not fly at all."

On the eve of destruction, while Piestewa was wrapping up another day of training at Fort Lee, while Tillman, Roque, Bird and most of us were moving through a serenely normal evening, the man with broken English who couldn't fly at all was checking into Marriott Residence Inn in Herndon, Va. The hotel was close to Washington Dulles Airport.

Hanjour wanted to be at the airport early tomorrow morning. He and 18 others were bent on destruction.

September 10th, 2001, was just another day. For almost 3,000 people in New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington, it was their last. Remember the victims and their families and remember the bravery of the men and women that died heading up the stairs in the towers that day; rushing the cockpit of a hijacked flight to stop the plane from killing someone else's mother or father; parachuting into Afghanistan weeks later. I hope they are at peace.

Posted by Justin at September 10, 2006 11:58 PM