Joe De Matteo

Writings and thoughts (with many digressions)

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by Joseph De Matteo


Yesterday a tape was released of a 20-minute phone “conversation” between various people and Betty Ong.  Ms. Ong was a flight attendant on American Airline’s ill-fated flight 11.  AA11 was deliberately flown into Tower 1 of the World Trade Center in the September 11, 2001 attack on the United States and the modern civilized world.

I include the civilized world because too many of us either forget or don’t know that this isn’t a war being waged against America alone.  The USA is an obvious focal point of the modern world culture that this Fundamental Islamic Movement wishes to over through. 

Their obsession with the international business site called the World Trade Center; the arteries into Manhattan, the island that commercializes and symbolizes this culture; and the US seat of government and military, the powerful guardian of the culture that they hate, is proof that every country that is part of this culture is their enemy.

Personally, I’ve never been one for subtlety, but who could miss the diversity of the people who are American and stand up for America both a citizens, spokesmen, and in their heroic deeds; just like Betty Ong.  One just has to look at any newscast, even Aljazeera, to see an Hispanic or Black high ranking military officer; the varied look of the most powerful people in our government and military.  The doctors, nurses and emergency workers, as well as the police and firefighters, and of course our work-a-day citizens all cover the spectrum of humanity from one end to the other.

The morning of 9/11 I was writing at my computer when I heard the news of the first plain hitting the one of the towers.  I ran upstairs and turned on Fox News in time to hear the speculation and watch the second plain hit the other tower.  As soon as my wife and I got back from picking our youngest up from their schools, we called our oldest back home from work, with only one break, I spent the rest of the day standing before the TV watching events unfold.  When my son got home we left the family in the living room and went to load and safely stow some guns and ammo in preparation for the unthinkable.

The events of 9/11 changed America.  With total disregard to the Casper-milk-toast, unisex image of the new American, which the left had spent 40 years creating in our schools and media, Americans who’d closeted their true selves came roaring out of their closets.  They donned their reap faces, hung their flags, rolled up their sleeves and got to work at supporting their country.  And they did it immediately.

On that day I saw Americans running to, as well as away from the site of the attack.  To me the black man who felt compelled to actually wrap himself in our flag and travel to what would be called ground zero was representative of what we all wished we could have done.  The three firemen planting the flag in a mound of rubble was so reminiscent of the Iwo Jima scene that told my generation what is was to be an American man; there was the actor, ex-firefighter, who reportedly joined his former comrades digging in the rubble. 

Our neighbors left their jobs and families, put on their uniforms and patrolled our streets and transit-ports.  All the soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen – regular and guards – went off to battle.  For a brief moment politicians became American statesmen and acted in consort with American statesmen to insure the ensuing battle would be fought on other than American soil. 

A President and his staff stand tall in the faces of the fearful and power/Frank/Mark/Rubble/Yen hungry, and those who work to abolish the America identity. 

Today I heard the calm clear voice of an American hero.  Betty Ong is a woman I want my young girls to know about.  She had a job to do and she did it.  While others keeping the passengers calm and ready for what might come next (a landing for the highjackers to negotiate with authorities, most must have though), Betty and Amy Sweeney, using cell phones spoke to American Airlines support and supervisory personnel on the ground. They were passing on crucial information, data that under different circumstances may have been used to help authorities secure the safe release of the passengers and crew.  Betty Ong and Amy Sweeney did this right up to the end of Flight AA11. 


Copyright January  2004  Joseph De Matteo all rights reserved.



A 2011 New Year's Greeting from Jeff Brown, Spokane, WA

Jeff Brown was moved to write me a note telling me about his feelings about these two American Heroes.  You can read Jeff's words below.  It isn't only the sentiment expressed by Jeff that was interesting and note worthy, but the Photographer's Edge card he sent contained a beautiful photograph by Carlene D. Hardt of Glacier National Park in Montana (also below). 

Thank you, Jeff,  for the kind words to me and the great photograph, but mostly for your heartfelt witness to the heroism of Betty Ong and Madeline "Amy" Sweeney.
                                                                                                                                 Sincerely, Joe

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Joseph De Matteo

Joseph De Matteo


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