On the day two aircraft were flown into the World Trade Centre, two other aircraft were also hijacked – Flight 93 was headed for the capital and Flight 77 for the Pentagon.
We all know what happened on board Flight 93 – some male passengers discovered from calling their friends and family what the terrorists likely intended, and realised that all lives on board were forfeit if they did not act. They stormed the cockpit and tried to wrestle control of the plane back, forcing the terrorists at the controls to piledrive the aircraft into an empty field. All on board were killed, but we cannot ever know how many were saved in the capital, and how many children are alive today born to those survivors, due to the courage of those men.
Those children will never know how close they came to never being born.
But on Flight 77, this did not happen. Although many passengers were likewise in touch with their friends and families, they either realised too late or simply failed to act – they all lost their lives, but so did 125 on the ground as the aircraft plowed into the Pentagon building.
Putting aside whether you entirely believe these accounts, they are nevertheless instructive for what is happening around us today and have caused me to think about what the passengers were perhaps told during the journey by their captors.
No doubt they were all told to remain in their seats, to remain calm, to trust that if they caused no trouble, they would survive and see their families again.
All lies, just designed to enable the goals of the terrorists to be achieved with the minimum of obstruction.
Today nearly twenty years later, there are many people telling us that the changes to our society are temporary, that vaccines will soon restore normality, that the suspensions of our civil liberties are a necessary imposition that will soon be over and we will all be able to go back to the pub, the cinema, our favourite restaurants.
But there is also a smaller number of people warning that this is not a temporary situation, but a permanent change to global society – that Davos Man has decided to seize the opportunity afforded by COVID (or may even have engineered these events) to radically change the way we all live.
Each of us must decide for ourselves which group is correct.
But if we are being lied to, and the government of our nations have no plans to ever restore our civil liberties to us without some very serious caveats, then our failure to protest will enable them to pilot us to whatever destination they wish, and although that is unlikely to be the side of a government building at 500mph, I seriously doubt we will enjoy the experience much more than that.