Every year I strive to bring a different, and new perspective on the anniversary of September 11, 2001..
As each year progresses, the distant memories become even more distant. For those who still recall each second of the day, scarred into their psyche, it still becomes a faraway feeling as time marches on.
A refresher course on our previous posts:
- We discussed how the 9/11 kids came of age in 2019.. Age 18 and off into the world
- 2018’s focus was on the end of serenity in Shanksville, PA
- In 2017, we questioned why we constantly watch the ‘rerun’ of 9/11 footage.
- We have also gone into details on Hurricane Erin, the storm that WOULD HAVE prevented 9/11 from happening..
- How Pop Culture changed in the aftermath of 9/11
- 2015’s focus was on secrets. Like live nukes on a tarmac and the Speaker of the House being taken out of contact with everyone during the aftermath and evacuation…
- We also had localized tale about how flight 98 went over Schuylkill County PA before its fateful crash..
So this 19th anniversary feels strange. Not quite the 20th.. and as time becomes hazy, we seem to be losing something as we go.
The aftermath of 9/11 elevated police to hero and icon status. 2020 does not look as favorably .. A lot has changed. Perhaps the events of that day caused wars, which caused beheadings, which cases alarming friction around the world, which caused dismay and turmoil and could quite possibly have led to the election of Donald Trump. It’s like the butterfly effect. One slight alternation could have changed everything.
There is another theme to 2020 that seems somewhat relative. Statues are coming down all across the fruited plane. Civil War soldiers of the South who stood in parks or state capitols are actively being canceled. Even Chris Columbus himself is on the verge of being a role model of evil. This year, his statue was taken down in Baltimore on the Fourth of July and thrown into the Harbor.
We choose not to step into the murky waters of debates about statues. But as one ages, one can realize that history itself becomes just as murky as the ‘heroes’ who embodied them.
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THE PEACH LADY
I belong to a David Letterman fan forum. The other day, an interesting memory was posted on the page about the ‘Peach Lady.’ Those who watched the CBS Late Show around 1995 may recall her.. Letterman played a video of this woman, sitting in the seats of the US Open, eating a succulent and juicy peach, with the liquids dripping down her chin and neck. Letterman played it over and over again. Each night with more laughter than the previous. As a matter of fact, the footage of her in the stands at the tennis tournament was shown at least a half-dozen times September 1995 on the show.
In a punch line for his “Top 10 List,″ Letterman referred to the Peach Woman as a “seductive temptress.″ Letterman also started a nationwide search for the mystery woman, putting her picture on the Times Square Sony Jumbotron with the caption: “IF THIS IS YOU … CALL NOW!″
The woman’s name was Jane Bronstein, a then-fifty-five year old woman with a thyroid condition. And because Letterman made her famous, she sued Worldwide Pants in February 1996.
Jane Bronstein, a 54-year-old New York City woman, has sued the comedian, saying he violated her right to privacy and left her with mental and physical pain from the public ridicule.
But here is the kicker.. The suit was settled in 1997 for undisclosed damages – and that footage and the image of the “peach lady” is no longer available for casual consumption.
The peach lady has vanished!
She is gone from Google. Gone from Youtube clips. Gone even from Wikipedia, where a page for her existed until around 2013.
I have a visceral memory of it. As did many others on the David Letterman forum I frequent. But we don’t have the image anymore.
But what is true is this: I have the video tape to prove she existed. An old VHS, taped from television in 1995.. fuzzy and hazy, but there she is. On my TV, which peach drippings sopping down her face.
It is in my possession.. and it did exist. But no one, possibly, will ever see it again.
THE HISTORY OF PRE 9/11
The peach lady has vanished from sight and memory. No here to be found, and no where to be seen. The gag was gone after the lawsuit. And strangely enough, those few images that still were online throughout the 2000s are gone as well. She is not even a meme.
History is forgotten.
There are people who believe the 21st century adage that whatever you put online stays for good. Forever. That it will be seen by future generations as freely as the current.
That does not appear to be true. The peach lady is a symbol of how things can go into the trash heap.
It is why so many screen shot breaking news events for posterity. The facts change quickly. The original information posted or reported vanishes …
In 1996, a brand new news network emerged on cable: MSNBC. It was a conglomeration between Microsoft and NBC News. And it just so happened that their inaugural week coincided with the tragic crash of TWA Flight 800. What those may now forget *unless you have old VHS like me* is that a great portion of their coverage during that life event focused on witnesses who claim they saw a mid-air explosion, and others who stated a missile was visible shooting down the plane. In the final analysis, no missile or accidential shoot down by the Navy (which was conducting a drill that very night) made the report… The conclusion was .. a crash.
And MSNBC’s frantic reporting and witness statements vanished… never to be seen again.
Only memories exist.
Few and static memories.
So this year.. this 19th anniversary since the 9/11 attacks, let’s stroll back into our collective amnesia and regret to find history forgotten..Events that occurred prior to the attacks, prior to the chaos that changed the world. Little events that seemed potentially coincidental at the time. But monumental in the aftermath.
And remember this.. most of these events, though important and impactful, are forgotten. As thought they never happened..
Thankfully we were busy keeping screen shots of websites and news long before it was cool.
And now presented for your viewing pleasure, or displeasure, a picture of America prior to the nightmare of 9/11.
Forgotten history, remembered now potentially for the first time in 19 years
During the summer of 2001, there were a few things on Americans’ minds. Gary Condit, a congressman who was under suspicion after his intern was killed. Also SHARKS! It was the summer of sharks. Shark bites were taking place all over the East Coast.
But a little reported event concerning then Attorney General John Ashcroft also occurred.. After a “threat assessment” was made, the AG was told to fly ONLY by private jet for the remainder of his term. The FBI had no further comment to CBS news when they reported this on July 26, 2001:
The Pentagon was a location of a terror attack on 9/11.. but just five months prior to the event, the Joint Chiefs of Staff rejected the idea of a hijacked airliner crashing into the Pentagon as impractical!! In April 2001, NORAD requested that war games run by the Joint Chiefs include a hijacked commercial plane. When the Boston GLOBE wrote about this event years later, they could not reach the original NORAD official for comment.
William Rodriguez was a hero janitor who helped people escape the towers after planes hit the building. He was celebrated and even photographed with George W. Bush. Things went sour after his testimony before the 9/11 Commission was completely emitted. Perhaps saying explosions were taking place in the building led to that choice by the group?
On June 15, 2004, the New York DAILY NEWS had a profile about the custodian that included this information: He swore that United Airlines hijacker Mohand Alshehri was there in June 2001 and that he told the FBI, and that he never heard back from then. According to his account, he just finished cleaning a bathroom when Alshehri asked “How many public bathrooms are in this area?” He said he found it strange and did not forget the event. He said he believed Alshehri was casing the towers prior to the attack.
Also during the summer prior to the attacks, there was a reported memo by an FBI agent urging the Bureau headquarters to investigate Middle Eastern men enrolled in American flight schools, and said that followers of Osama Bin Laden could use the flight schools for terror operations. Robert Mueller, the newly appointment FBI director in 2001, admitted that the Bureau gave the memo little attention.
The mastermind of the attacks also had luck evading investigation. In the summer prior to 9/11, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed received a US visa weeks before the attacks despite a 1996 indictment linking him to terror plots. It was reported that he took advantage of a 3rd party Visa processing system and used a false identity
While terrorists may have been casing their attack location and the mastermind was busy exploiting computer systems, it was reported that Osama Bin Laden also was able to get a miracle stroke of luck at the same time.
A CIA agent allegedly met with bin Laden in July 2001 while he underwent treatment for kidney problems at an American hospital in Dubai, France’s Le Figaro newspaper reported then. Bin Laden reportedly checked into the American Hospital Dubai, a 100-bed, acute-care general hospital, July 4 and stayed until July 14 that year. He arrived from Quetta, Pakistan, accompanied by his personal doctor and a close aide — possibly Ayman el Zawahiri, a leader of Egypt’s Islamic Jihad, now bin Laden’s right hand man, the newspaper said. The clinic denied the report after the 9/11 attacks occurred.
And finally, one last huge stroke of luck that occurred as one of the hijackers, Ziad Samir Jarrah, was pulled over by police six weeks before 9/11.
Prior to 9/11, in the spring of 2001, the ‘Lone Gunman’ pilot appears on FOX. It was a spinoff the X-FILES. And it was viewed as a dud.. a “dull” according to this review i the PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE:
So what was this boring episode about? In The Lone Gunmen’s premiere episode, “Pilot”, which aired March 4, 2001, members of the U.S. government conspire to hijack an airliner, almost hitting the World Trade Center, and blame the act on terrorists to gain support for a new profit-making war.
As the terrible day in history got closer, stranger events started to occur..
Italy told a tale that the 2001 Genoa Summit was fraught with worries that terrorists would crash a plane to kill Bush and other world leaders! The summit apparently was worried that year that terrorists would crash an airliner into their event.
Israel also warned the United States about an attack a month before the event.
This event reported by NEWSWEEK: In the spring of 2001, the US government’s most valuable terror informants gave the FBI an alarming report that terrorists were planning an attack on US soil..
But an even weirder warning came on September 10 when a student offered a chilling prediction to the New Utrecht High School in Brooklyn. The freshman bragged before the attacks that the World Trade Center was going to be destroyed. A teacher stated that she recalled the student saying, “Do you see those two buildings? They won’t be standing there next week.”
Salman Rushdie was banned by US authorities from taking flights a week before 9/11. . He said at that time he believed that the government was aware an attack was imminent.
Also Willie Brown was reportedly told not to fly !
Also before 9/11, the United States was forming its attack plan–against Afghanistan!!
The BBC reported that the United States government put plans into action in July 2001 for an October 2001 attack against the nation. Eventually, after 9/11, the United States launched its attack against Afghanistan in October 2001.
X X X
The days before.
Terrorists were busy watching porn and getting prostitutes before they slammed planes into buildings on September 11.
Yousef and Mohammad took a holiday to a coastal resort before they intended on blowing up the Pope. They also hung out at bars and strip clubs before 9/11.
Marwan Al-Shehhi frequently got lap dances at the Olympic Topless Cabaret but was apparently a lousy tipper.
Heightened security at the Twin Towers had JUST BEEN LIFTED before the attacks. Daria Coard told Newsday that despite numerous phone threats and 12-hour shifts for two weeks before September 11, bomb-sniffing dogs abruptly were removed the Thursday before.
On the day prior, two major events occurred that eventually become lost to history.
The United States decided to pull the plug on Muslim websites. Islamic groups condemned the action on September 10:
Also the Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, used his 9/10 press briefing to announce that $2.3 TRILLION in transactions by the Pentagon could not be tracked. Trillion.
Meanwhile in Florida, then Governor Jeb Bush declared Martial Law 4 days prior to 9/11!
A victim of 9/11, David Kocalcin, could not sleep the night of September 10, 2001. He was a passenger on Flight 11 on 9/11, but the night previous he woke up at 3am pacing the house, unable to sleep. The morning he left home he wrote a note for him family saying he will miss everyone very much. He said he would see them Friday night, and stated he fed the dogs but not the fish.
On September 9, 2001,NORAD was maintaining “Northern Vigilance.” The exercise was taking place on 9/11, which led some to ask early in the attacks if they were real world or exercise.
The night before terrorists crashed planes into buildings, a Middle Eastern man seated with two other man at the Pink Pony Nude Theater in Daytona Beach said “tomorrow America will see bloodshed.” The club shrugged off the warning at the time.
And the rest was history. Just don’t forget it.