On the sixth anniversary of the September 11 attacks, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani replaced his normal campaign Web site with a much simpler tribute.
Watch CNN's Abbi Tatton report on how some of the 2008 presidential candidates chose to remember the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on their campaign websites.
Related video: Giuliani speaks at 9/11 ceremony
So its September 11th again.
Six years ago today, I drove myself insane, too literally for comfort, due to some extraordinary circumstances.
I knew my accountant was on a United flight to San Francisco that morning. It crashed over a lonely field thanks to a handful of determined Saudi criminals.
My roommate emailed me from the Borders Books at the World Trade Center the night before, saying he'd be back in the building at 7 AM to get an email address he needed from me on the computer he was paying to use there.
He and his mom were on vacation. That next Sept. 11 morning I heard a radio report of fire inside Borders, where trapped people beat helplessly against reinforced glass walls. I was on my way to a friends. I had to pull over.
Another best friend of years had called me at three a.m. on September 11th, 2001, less than four hours before the massive tower directly outside his window would fall and turn his apartment into ash and glass strewn rubble. He lived in the October Films apartment across the way from the WTC and was up late writing a script. He called to talk shop and said, at the end of the call, that he'd crash for sure until noon the next day and nobody or nothing would wake him up.
My neighbor across the hall banged on my door shortly after the Pentagon was hit. Her eyes gleamed with tears and she was trembling. Her husband worked at the Pentagon, in the section hit. I sat consoling the woman on my couch as we watched it burn. Actually we consoled each other.
This is a true story, and it did indeed drive me nuts, but at this point is not where the story ended...
I wrote emails until my fingernails bled all day Sept. 11, 2001, typing perhaps a hundred words a minute for hours on end to various people, writing letters to friends to ensure they were safe and to ensure them I was as well, since I often travelled to New York.
Good news came shortly, when my neighbor's wife and I learned her husband called in sick that day and was safe afterall. Tears of pain became those of joy.
After frantically calling for hours I finally reached my roommate, who was also lucky. He and his mom were late catching the subway to the WTC and watched the buildings go down with mouths agape outside their relative's front door, across the water in New Jersey. He has a fearsome picture he snapped of what looks like half of Manhattan going up in a cloud.
As for my writer friend in the October Films Apartment across the street from WTC... his girlfriend reached him by phone after trying repeatedly before the first Tower's collapse. He thought she was joking and stumbled down the stairs in his pajamas. At the front doorway he looked up at the sky falling on him, literally. It was just then that the tower fell. He ran for his life as the concussion hit, throwing some around him down, never to get up.
The people I knew were lucky, others were not. When I watched George Bush pronounce, "I hear you." to the WTC workers at ground zero that first morning, I knew a lot of other people around the world would hear from him too, and not be lucky either.
What George Bush heard was our rage, our bitterness, and our despair. He drank it up like wine and he's been drunk ever since. Mr. Bush had just found the rallying cry he needed to do pretty damn well whatever he wanted just as dictators for centuries have done.
What he did not hear, however, what he was deaf, dumb and blind to, was the call of any great leader, to bring his country together and unite in time of crisis. Instead, over the following months he chose to divide and conquer, just as literally as I first feared. He chose to use the powerful emotional tool he had been handed as a club to his own people, and he still beats away at it even today, by having the Congressional hearings with General Petraus on the state of Iraq on this of all days, by releasing the Bin Laden tapes he's kept under wraps for weeks on this of all days.
Can it really be that he still insists on suggesting that Iraq had something to do with 911, even though we, and he, know its not the case.
He does it because the only tool he has left to him is emotional, right or wrong and he chooses the basest, most pornographic bloody emotions he can drudge from the human soul to suit his needs instead of our own.
I advocated then, and I still do now, to keep common sense and courage, to not give in to the temporary security and loss of freedoms George Bush would subscribe on Sept. 11, 2001 and has been embracing ever since.
The Patriot Act was passed within days, before most of the Senators admittedly had a chance to even read the whole damndable thing. They would not speak out because of fear of persecution while our Constitution was sacrificed via Cliff Notes.
It takes strength not only to strike in a horrible situation like that of 911, but also to show restraint, to show common sense and level headed justice instead of unrestrained rage. It takes strength to speak against popular wishes and justified outrage when it is not politically expedient, as State Senator Barack Obama did when he called Iraq the politically suicidal term, "dumb war."
That night, of September 11, 2001, I walked out of my little apartment in Sherman Oaks and up the main drag on Venture Blvd. There, I found many, many other strangers all doing the same thing. There was such an overwhelming need for community and comfort that night. It was like anything was possible. We'd all come together as a nation and we all looked to our leaders to lead wisely, to show us a way that would stem the flow of blood that we'd just endured.
It was not something George Bush could accomplish in a million years. I prayed for a leader who could see beyond the red haze of hatred, and I hoped I wasn't alone.
But even in the soothing presence of so many that were in need of answers, in need of justice just like myself, I could not shake my unease. I stood next to a storefront on Ventura blvd. all decked out with gory Halloween skulls, along with blasted apart limbs exposing grissle and bone beneath latex.
Dangling and mangled feet hung from one window in particular that I could not stop staring in at.
In the window's reflection I could see many cars with screaming people hanging out, honking, waving American Flags as they passed as if to say "you cannot keep us down." There was a traffic jam and it had become an impromptu parade.
It was then I noticed a local news
crew. They were interviewing people about their opinions. The question they asked repeatedly; "Should we go to war?"
The answer, again and again, was "yes." At that point, nobody knew who did it or where they were from. All we knew was that we wanted blood, we wanted body parts in windows for all to see, just like in that macabre display behind me.
But as I tell my three year old, what we want is not always what we need. And we all came to learn that the hard way.
I noticed the guy being interviewed on camera was a man I knew. I'd seen him at parties in the area and he was a producer for CNBC, a recent AFI grad.
Previously I'd thought of him as a sober, analytical type. But that night he was wearing a Red White and Blue bandanna, an American Flag tie, and an American Flag jacket. He was irate on camera, screaming about how we should be bombing someone for what had been done to us.
I did not blame him. In fact, I felt like hugging him. Yet, in his eyes, I saw everything in that Halloween display come to life. I saw the exact circumstances of the death of liberty, reason and respect. Here was a horrible wish from a good man, who was only human, and was hurt, as we all were.
Next, the reporter interviewed me, and I told him that I thought it absurd to be calling for some nation or another to be bombed simply because, without knowing if we faced an acto of war or a criminal act like what happened via Timothy McVeigh. Was it a nation responsible or a group of criminals? Who knew? I told him to look around at the justified outrage. It was great people were coming together, but was it a rush to answers, or madness?
He responded, "Wow, you're the only person we've interviewed tonight that feels we shouldn't immediately be at war."
I responded, "With whom?" and then I went home.
I went home and I cried. I cried because I could not be sure it wouldn't have been me screaming had some of my best friends not made it out of the situation alive as they just had. It is human nature to take revenge after all.
A good leader should be of a higher nature, and to know that's not what we had, worried me all the more.
As I witnessed the events of the last six years since, I've often thought back to the outrage and community on display that night of September 11th. I've often thought of the macabre window where bodyparts were so glamourously displayed. I've often thought of how we all were marketed that bitter cold meal to follow and how so many ate wholeheartedly of it.
Ever since that night, I've waited. I've waited for someone, anyone of public note to start making sense, to start talking logically again. I've waited for someone to rise above the bickering and fear to take a stand.
In 2004, when I heard Barak Obama speak at the Democratic National Convention, I realized immediately I'd found such a man.
Here was someone that could unite us to fight instead of dividing us to do it. Here is someone who can play to our emotions for good instead of ill, in ways and circumstances George W. Bush never has imagined were possible.
The moment I heard Barack Obama's words I knew they were for me, that he understood the anger, the tragedy, the manipulation of emotion and fear, and that he understood exactly how certain other politicians had used it for their own gain. I understood that he, unlike Bush, knew how to diffuse it. He knew how to bring us back to our senses and out of the realm of senseless violence and fear we'd become so comfortable in.
I believed then at that moment, as I do now, that he would one day soon be President of The United States.
The next time a horrible crime like 911 occurs, we will have a leader that is able to look at the situation not as a tool, or a campaign tactic, or as a call to a fictional global war to benefit a greedy few, but as what it is, a national emergency to be dealt with using level headed strength, integrity and the swiftness that comes only from immense character and good judgement.
If only President Obama had been there so few years ago, what a different world we would have today.
I thought I had lost my sense of hope and imagination for this country in the months since. As time passed I thought we may be doomed to a hell filled with fear, loathing and war without end. I no longer think that. Not a bit. I've regained my fragile sanity at last.
I have regained my innocence through Barack Obama. I have regained my sense that I am not alone in the world with my thoughts, trapped on a body part strewn street corner for all buyers to beware, watching as a great tide overturns all reason and hope.
The tide has turned. We're turning it now, and we'll keep doing so in honor of all those, in the air and on the ground, in New York, Washington, Afganistan and Iraq and across this whole nation and world, that have given their lives and their limbs so that we can get to where we are, which is the most pivotal point in United States History to date.
So that we can get to the place that is called change.
The planes missed not just my friends that day, but us all. Fate gave us another opportunity to make a future where planes will never fall from the sky again.
Rudy is the biggest fraud of any of the candidates running. And he seeks to cravenly milk 9-11 and use it politically every chance he gets.
After all, didn't he personally save us all those first couple days by appearing on television constantly while Bush and Cheney were hiding under their desks somewhere?
Rudy did nothing, prevented nothing, and saved no one. All he did was apear on TV and became a phony made-up media "hero".
In fact Rudy is responsible for the single biggest local goof-up by insisting that the city emergency management be located in the twin towers when they were a known terrorist target from before.
Perhaps another reason he was on TX so much is that his office in the emergency center that should've been running things was burned up in the towers.
You couldn't be more on the money...