Born in Berlin, I lived in Nazi Germany and I fled to America. Here I have lived through World War II, but from a “safe” distance. I have seen pictures of wars in Korea, Vietnam, Somalia, Kosovo, the Persian Gulf, and many more, where our American military went to serve. On Sept. 11, 2001, war was brought to our own country by unseen enemies bent on suicidal missions.
|Lilo O. Thurnauer (pictured here with her late husband, William) looked out from her terrace in Fort Lee and saw no planes in the air. It was eerie.|
I looked out from my terrace and, across the Hudson River, saw the ever-stunning silhouette of the Manhattan skyline. The weather continued to be deceptively beautiful, the sun shining through the white clouds in the blue sky. And yet there was an eerie sense of calm that was almost frightening. Not one airplane crossed the horizon, a phenomenon not known in modern times – not even the familiar chopping staccato sounds from traffic helicopters. America had shut down all air traffic. This had never happened before.
Our country appeared to be paralyzed. And yet, I heard some heavy motors rumbling and roaring above. I rushed to look where this sound in the sky is coming from: our F-16 fighter jets in double formation, covering Manhattan Island. With two aircraft carriers approaching New York Harbor and F-16 fighters monitoring the skies over New York, I trusted we are not only preparing for defensive measures but also the counter-assault on the undeclared and invisible enemy. Our democracy had been put to the worst test ever. The people who make up this democracy value their freedom and will fight to secure it.