It’s quite a sight, that big, blue crane downtown. It’s just a tool, of course — an essential one at that. It’s lifting the girders and other steel work that will build a new parking deck, hotel and office tower adjacent to the city’s new minor league baseball stadium. It may be used as well in the renovation of the old Prince Charles Hotel into apartments, as well as some restaurant and retailing space. ...
But it’s more than that: It’s a 180-foot monument to a city’s progress, to the faith of its residents in its future, to the continuing renaissance of our long-bedraggled downtown, and to the serious economic development that’s beginning to take hold here. ... It sends a message to businesses and industries far and wide that the old Fayetteville is gone, replaced with a vibrant new one, filled with culture, entertainment, sports and an attractive lifestyle.
And we find it even more symbolic that with Hurricane Florence on the way, the owners of the crane have decided to leave it in place through the storm, certain that it can easily withstand the winds coming our way. Add resilience to our attributes.
That feels good.
It’s been 17 years since the Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda coordinated four attacks on America, killing 2,996 people, injuring over 6,000 others and causing at least $10 billion in infrastructure and property damage.
But no matter how much time passes, we will never forget. ...
Today, 17 years later, America has changed. Americans have changed. We fight and bicker about the stupidest of things, particularly politics, as if being a Republican or a Democrat were the most important thing one can be.
But we hope, as we settle in to remember the tragedy of 9/11, that we can resurrect not the tragedy but the hope that rose from the ashes, the way our American spirit took over, the way we set aside politics for the greater good and became what we always should be — Americans first and always. ...
Of all the things 9/11 taught us, it was how Americans can unite, standing elbow to elbow.
We can do that again if we only will, making 9/11 count for good rather than the evil it was intended for.
One of those heroes was ours. One of the people who fought to prevent a third attack on Sept. 11, 2001, was from Greensboro.
So when on Sunday the newest phase of a monument was dedicated in Shanksville, Pa., to those who died when United Flight 93 crashed into a field rather than the Capitol, our chests swelled with pride, and tears welled in our eyes. Because we remember what Sandy Bradshaw did. ...
Bradshaw was a flight attendant aboard a Boeing 757 bound from New Jersey to California that had been hijacked by four terrorists intent on a strike in Washington to follow those earlier at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Bradshaw and other passengers and crew fought back, forcing their way into the cockpit and disrupting the terrorists’ plans. They couldn’t retake control of the aircraft, and it plummeted to earth at more than 575 mph, leaving a crater near Shanksville that was nearly 40 feet deep. All 40 of them died.
... Sandy Bradshaw and the 39 other victims — were fighting for all of us, to preserve our focus, our unity and our very best patriotism.