Monday, February 26, 2007

On This Date...

In honor of my very own birthday I will post another chopped/rewritten/reformatted speech. The assignment was a speech concerning an event that occurred on my birthday. Unfortunately, as a result, I will never be able view this date in quite the same light.

On February 26 in 1993 I was turning 6 years old. My mom probably brought birthday cupcakes to my second grade class to celebrate. We most likely went to fun factory after school to play games with a couple of my friends. I was probably on top of the world though completely oblivious to the events occurring across the country.

About 2 years prior to this a man name Ramzi Yousef entered American with a forged passport. Yousefs accomplice carried multiple immigration documents, among them a crudely falsified Swedish passport. Providing a smokescreen to facilitate Yousef's entry, his counterpart was arrested on the spot as bomb manuals, videotapes of suicide car bombers, and a cheat sheet on how to lie to U.S. immigration inspectors were found in his luggage. Because of overcrowded holding cells, Yousef was given a hearing date and allowed to take residence in New York for which he would use the next 2, and funding and advice from his uncle, to prepare for the events leading up to my 6th birthday on February 26.

On this day Yousef drove a rental Ryder van, packed with three red metal cylinders of compressed hydrogen, four large containers of nitro-glycerine and cyanide thrown in for good measure, and parked it in the garage under the north tower of the World Trade Center. At 12:18pm the van exploded blowing a 30 meter wide hole through four sublevels of concrete. Six people were killed and at least 1,040 others were injured. Thankfully the cyanide which was intended to fill the stairwells of the building is assumed to have been burned in the explosion. All being said, Yousef must have been supremely displeased with his work because his intention was to bring down tower one collapsing it ion tower two. The architects of the world trade center would later reveal, if the van had been left closer to the poured concrete foundations, his attack would have been successful.

Yousefs disappointment with his first attack led to dedicated planning of a multi-pronged terrorist attack in which 11 airliners would be destroyed, the assassination of the Pope and President Clinton, and planes would be crashed into the CIA headquarters, the Sears tower, the Pentagon, the Washington capitol, and the white house among other. This attack was presumed to take place in 1995 if it were not for the Pakistani Intelligence and U.S. Bureau of Diplomatic Security agents who captured Yousef 20 days shy of the 2 years anniversary of his first attack in 1993. When Yousef was brought back to America in 1995, he was flown over the twin towers and made a statement to the FBI that he regretted not having enough explosives to bring down the WTC towers and adding that his fellow terrorists would try again to destroy them.

8 years and 7 months later from my 6th birthday I have a very vivid memory of the eery silence on the bus going to high school my freshman year, sitting in the cold classroom for German glued to the television that my teacher had brought in, and coming home in a daze sitting down in front of the tv with the rest of my family because my dad came home early from work. I'm sure many of you have your own story of the events on September 11th. Although there is so little that I remember about the day of the first WTC bombing in stark contrast to the september 11th attacks, the two are very much connected. Yousef's uncle, the one who gave him the advice and the funding to see through the first attacks on the WTC, is often times referred to as being the principle architect of the 9/11 attacks. It is also believed that, although unsuccessful, all of Yousefs effort that when into planning his 1995 attacks provided the necessary lessons from which the 9/11 terrorists could see their attack through to completion.

As you can see, history does repeat itself, but it is a hopeless endeavor to make things how they were before. What good will it do for us to live in an idealistic longing for yesterday? If terrorists can learn from the past in order to more effectively cause death and destruction, we surely can learn from the past. It is my prayer that this generation will wake up to history, learn from our mistakes, and look up to a new better tomorrow with open eyes.

David Knepprath

4 comments:

Laura Jean said...

yeah... we're getting taken over. but at least more people that are younger are joining! let's look on the bright side :)

Mirranda said...

.... you look depressed in that new picture you put up.

David Knepprath said...

...better?

Mirranda said...

Haha. Better.