Today 9/11 – By J Raymond Watson
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Today is ……… 9/11. September 11th, that awfully cruel day for all of us US Citizens, when two passenger jet planes stolen by fanatic inhuman terrorist Muslims were crashed into the World Trade Center Twin Towers in downtown Manhattan. Many good people who were making it in New York City suffered death, horrible wounds, sheer torture, the loss of lives dear to them and many others, the destruction of those valuable buildings of architectural pride and site of business efficiency, with many risks to normal life caused by the destruction debris and terrible panic.
My engineering office partner and I were playing a round of walking golf at the Fort Buchanan 9-hole course when an MP ordered us off the course and into the safer clubhouse, where we suffered watching re-runs on TV of the planes crashing into the towers and their resulting destruction, falling down in huge pieces of wreckage. An unforgettable shocking day from which not even the solution to the case, the capture and trial and sentencing of the criminal terrorists, have helped us to forget……. nor lose our doubts and fear of anything related to Muslims and their religious practice that encourages and rewards such acts of murder against people not of their fanatical religious sect. In fact, most Americans hate them, period, and truly want nothing to do with Islam.
I felt especially affected, saddened, lost. I kept recalling, even crying at times, that back at the end of 1972, the Construction Manager for the World Trade Center Twin Towers, Ray Monti, and I were selected among the Outstanding Construction Managers of 1972 in the USA. We shared the same table, both of us with our wives, at the Hotel Pierre in New Tork City when we were so honored by Engineering News-Record, the prestigious construction trade magazine, at the Gala Dinner during which we each received our Award. Ray Monti and I hit it off immediately. He invited me to join him next day on an inspection tour of the construction of the Twin Towers then underway in full progress. I was elated!! Next day, Ray guided me up and down the project, watching welding, huge cranes in action, a model of efficiency in the conduct of major high-rise building construction.
To watch on TV the destruction of that glory of construction and my unforgettable glorious memory of it in progress of construction, guided by its Construction Manager, Ray Monti, way up in the Manhattan skyline had, I firmly believe, a terrible effect on me. Early the next day, September 12th, I awoke early, feeling weird, confused. My head was splitting and I felt my equilibrium affected!!!! I was at least able to call Dr. Claudia Villate, daughter of my engineering partner. She directed me to go, with someone else driving, to Auxilio Mutuo Hospital, that she would treat me there at once for suffering a stroke!!!! Yes, I had suffered a stroke, fortunately, a mild one, leaving the little residual ill effect. Also, fortunately, the Toll Turnpike System of PR that was created under my direction had been mostly completed, and the PR Metro Urban Train designed during my Term in Office was under construction.
Has justice been fully done? Somehow, I , for one, feel our USA is still much owed.
J RAYMOND WATSON CIVIL ENGINEER (RETIRED) Former PR Highway Authority Director 1969-72