I hardly heard anything about D-Day yesterday, so I will post for today June 7th.
There was a memorable story that stood out was the journey 89 year-old Bernard Jordan took from his care home in Hove to join his colleagues in France. It’s already been nicknamed The Great Escape. This story is a little late since Bernard Jordan did this a few years back but still entertaining none the less. The rest is what I’ve read and cut and paste it since I think a lot of people should take this story and learn from it.
Quite rightly, the emphasis this weekend was on the veterans and thousands upon thousands of young men who died on those beaches and in the months following the invasion. But it got me to wondering about the news the British people received, listening to the radio or reading the papers to find out what was happening to their loved ones.
Once again, I turned to The Glasgow Herald of June 7th, 1944 for some insights and gathered together a collection of tidbits that appealed to me.
Whereas other papers’ headlines screamed Invasion, with only 8 pages available (because of paper rationing) The Glasgow Herald wasted little space on pictures and remained as understated as ever. On the front page were the usual blackout times (Glasgow 11.57pm until 4.34am) and notifications of births, marriages and deaths. The current entertainment available at the city’s theatres was listed (including the Half-Past Eight Show mentioned in last week’s blog) as well as a programme of musical concerts in city parks.
But the Invasion did make its presence known on the front page with notices from city churches informing the faithful of special prayers and services for ‘our King and County and Allies and for the Forces now invading Europe’. Glasgow Cathedral offered two services at noon and 3pm for ‘those engaged in the Second Front Operation’.
The Late News column referenced a German report which talked of ‘grim fighting’ between Havre and Cherbourg being the ‘bloodiest of the day’ with several hundred Canadian paratroopers wiped out or forced to surrender.
German Overseas Radio denied any fighting in Caen. ‘Mr Churchill’s reference about fighting in Caen is untrue. No enemy troops have penetrated into the city, therefore no fighting has taken place in Caen.’
Page two carried the Colonial Secretary being forced to deny a ‘silly and harmful story’ which had had much circulation, particularly in America, to the effect that America was being charged for every palm tree they destroyed in battles for the recovery of British possessions.
When talking about the history of invasion in Europe, one columnist pointed out that Caen had been the HQ of William The Conqueror before he turned his sights on England in 1066.
Eisenhower apparently carried seven old coins in his pocket – one being an ancient five guinea piece. He is said to have given these mascots a rub before the Italian invasion and everyone hoped that the mascots would do as good a job again.
Regarding the Invasion of Italy and France, it had been decided by Roosevelt and Churchill at the Casablanca Conference in 1943 that an invasion of the west would be deferred until the Allies had cleared the Mediterranean and knocked out Italy.
Page 3 contained Scottish news with detailed Invasion news starting on page 4.
The Invasion was originally scheduled for Monday June 5th, but postponed for 24 hours because of bad weather.
German Radio admitted the Allies had a foothold 10-15 miles long and nearly a mile deep in France.
Allied landings also took place on Guernsey and Jersey in the Channel Islands.
Hitler was reported to have taken charge of the military response to the invasion.
Between midnight and 8am on June 6th, an estimated 31,000 Allied airmen flew over France. 1,300 Fortresses and Liberators began their attack at 6am ending at 8.30am.
Priority was being given for troops’ mail so that both the men in the front line and their relatives and friends at home should receive regular deliveries of letters.
One hour before they left for the beaches, the troops enjoyed a meal of pork chops and plum duff. Each solder was then given a ‘landing ration’ – a bag of chocolate and biscuits and cigarettes for ‘consumption while waiting’.
Civilian workmen and villagers who had seen anything of the preparations at an American airfield were detained in the camp by the authorities for 48 hours until news of the landings were released.
125,000,000 maps were used by the US invasion forces.
Eisenhower broadcast a Call to the People of Europe: The hour of your liberation is approaching. All patriots, men and women, young and old, have a part to play in the achievement of final victory.
General Montgomery wished the troops ‘Good Hunting in Europe’.
And then, on pages 7 and 8 it was back to normal with commodity markets, situations vacant, property, livestock and farms for sale. A five-room terraced house with kitchen and scullery could be bought for 800 pounds. So much for the biggest invasion force the world had ever seen.
If you ever get the opportunity to watch the film The Longest Day, I highly recommend it. It’s a comprehensive view of the events of June 6th, 1944 from all sides involved.
If you write a book about something that is little known, you have to be prepared for questions. Some will be silly and trivial, some will be deeper: but there will be questions. I wrote about Iran. Immediately I learned that many Americans know little about that country and its culture. Many of the questions I have been asked have been about the women of Iran. They seem so different from the women of America, so different and so very hard to comprehend.
The mere mention of Iran invokes suspicion. Backwardness, fundamentalism, and terrorism were some of the words that seemed to immediately spring to American minds. Iranian men are seen as bearded, militant, hostile, and chauvinistic. The women are assumed to be veiled, oppressed, and submissive. Shrouded in their traditional black chadors (the ultimate symbol of their oppression), Iranian women shown on television appear angry. Holding their hands in the air and chanting anti-American slogans, they are more than willing to join the men in a fight against the United States.
Is the anger and anti-Americanism of the Iranian woman real? Are these so-called truths only media propaganda? Are these mass images a reflection of “the people,” or are they just manufactured collages that deprive the individual Iranian woman of her personal humanity? Exactly who is the Iranian woman?
While her appearance seems to typify inferiority and the oppression of the “second sex” that is so prevalent in that part of the world, I beg to differ with the stereotype. Having lived in Iran and having been in day-to-day contact with many of these women, I know them to be wise, proud, and highly intelligent. They are also tactful if not downright manipulative as they deal with the male dominated society around them. They are in many ways truly heroes.
The true Iranian woman may be oppressed, but underneath she is rebellious. She is subjugated but unruly. She is controlled and at the same time defiant. She may seem hushed and subservient, but she is strong in her faith—a true believer—and ready to fight for it. However segregated and oppressed she may be, the Iranian woman is a revolutionary, a fighter, and willing to die for her nation. Yes, she is a loving mother and a dutiful wife, but she has the heart of a warrior and the soul of Persia beats within her.
In short, there is a contradiction between the submissive and the fierce sides of these women. Westerners tend to see only the passive and subservient side. Perhaps that is because Western observers have been so fascinated by what they have seen as so different from their own cultures. Certainly the conflict with Western values has highlighted the anti-feminist aspects of Iranian culture and Islam. In part the revivalism of modern Islam has fortified these traditional values and appearances.
However, having lived in Iran for three and a half years, I have seen the other side of Iranian women. Oriented very much in the here-and-now, Iranian women are pragmatic and are often looked to for advice. Most Iranian men were closer to their mothers than their fathers. Of course, older sons have a sense of responsibility for their mothers and sisters should anything happen to their fathers. Also, because women are removed from men in the common run of things, they may seem somehow more enigmatic, some one who has to be understood—especially after an arranged marriage, when the man is suddenly expected to take on the role of husband, a role for which he has had so little training.
It is interesting to see how greatly Iranian women change when they come to the United States, especially those women who come by themselves. Without the pressures of family, Iranian women who immigrate to the U.S. frequently give up the chador. They wait to marry. And perhaps most importantly, they continue their educations.
While the women who come here with their families and husbands continue the traditional ways (or perhaps are pressured into doing so), the women who are on their own quickly adapt to this land of new opportunities. Perhaps the most immediate sign of that adaptation is the change in their clothing. The drabness of traditional dress is suddenly replaced with color. But underneath that exuberant change, they are still some of the kindest people you will ever meet.
I would appreciate Amazon reviews if you read my book.
What is May Day, anyway?
- May Day falls on May 1 every year
- It is a holiday of summer celebration, but also marks International Worker’s Day
To most people in the Northern Hemisphere, May Day conjures images of brightly colored twirling ribbons and promises of warm days ahead. That’s not the whole story, though: May Day is also a day of protests and riots that traces its modern roots back to a world-changing explosion in Chicago.
When is May Day?
What is May Day?
How did it start?
How did it become a day for labor rights?
Is this related to the “Mayday! Mayday!” distress call?
I am sharing this from Micki Peluso’s post. She is a very accomplished author and be sure to read her book “And the Whippoorwill Sang” a book about her daughters death from a drunk driver, excellent book as well.
One of the best Memoirs You’ll Ever Read!!!
LETTING GO into PERFECT LOVE
Discovering the Extraordinary After Abuse
By Gwendolyn M. Plano
Author Gwendolyn Plano, in this extraordinary memoir, “invites you into my journey, replete with childhood stories and adult meanderings.” Yet this book is so much more, encompassing all elements of life’s struggles, dreams, and heartache which so many readers will latch onto, sharing Plano’s feelings and experiences. I was hooked from the first page until the ending, causing me so many mixed emotions; closing the book with a feeling of love and peace which stayed with me.
Gwen’s first marriage seems heaven sent and produces a wonderful son, Matt. But her husband Bruce develops psychiatric problems so severe that he must be committed, “for his good and yours” says the psychiatrist—leaving Gwendolyn a single Mom, and little Matt on their own.
She gets a second chance with Ron, who seems the perfect man and father figure. Falling deeply in love, she misses some of Ron’s flaws, serious flaws, and marries him. The bliss of romance soon fades as Ron shows a severe abusive side, unnoticed before- and it grows worse. There is no easy way to escape a brutal husband, physically, mentally and emotionally. Over the next 25 years she bears two more sons and a daughter, and Gwen tries heroically to maintain an atmosphere of normalcy.
Abused women are often criticized for tolerating marital torture and not leaving. The situation is complex and author Plano depicts the plethora of reasons in this heart rending story of a woman trapped. It takes increasing and serious abuse of her children to awaken in her a newly found and deeply held faith in God giving her the determination and courage to sever the destructive relationship. Help from angel visitations guide her from an existence in terror to a life of joy and peace.
The second half of the book is written in breathtaking and beautiful verbiage that comes directly from the author’s heart and soul – so deeply embraced by love that I re-read many parts and was left with a sense of peace upon finishing it. This is one story which needs to be read by every woman . . . and man as well. This book is one of the most touching, honest memoirs that I have ever read.
Highly recommended for those searching for their true selves, love and companionship with God and others— “Perfect Love.”
I’ve been thinking lately about life, religion, and how to perceive GOD. There are many reasons I started contemplating these, MOSTLY BOREDOM, and THANKFULNESS.
The boredom is brought on by my disability and not being able to work. The Thankfulness is for everyone in my life that I love and my two kitties who mean the world to me; especially Ringo who has diabetes. Everyday I thank GOD for these people and say a prayer for Ringo and hope that he suffers no pain due to this illness. God knows everytime he sees me I’m sticking him with either a lancet to measure his blood glucose, or a needle for insulin, and yet another needle for his arthritis pain. Not to mention the medication I have to squirt into his mouth for tooth and gum pain. His teeth and gums are terrible with everything you could imagine, he gets an antibiotic shot every two weeks prophylactically because he can’t have surgery until his BG is stabilized. It has been running over 500 and their parameters are the same as ours, 70-120, but they can tolerate higher levels easier than a human. Otherwise he doesn’t act very different, when his sugar is high he is a little bit sleepier, and low he meows loudly for food. I see him as not so bad off in pain that he should be put to sleep. Or am I selfish. I don’t think so.
Now the religion part; Are these prayers for my loved ones really being answered or are we just seeing a string of coincidences? And how many coincidences does it take to make us realize that there is someone watching over us. I always thought KARMA played a role, when bad things happened to bad people. But then I’ve seen a lot of GOOD PEOPLE (or so I think are good) go through tremendous pain and suffering. Which brings my next question up, are good people supposed to suffer like Jesus did on the cross in order to get to heaven when they die. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen or heard how really bad people get away with murder and are always catching breaks, yet good people suffer. If this is true then my latter theory would hold water more.
God, what is he/she/it? Is this omnipotent being a person, or is it the nature and energy around us, or both. I saw a mud puddle in a whole different light this past summer. While I was staring into it I saw a perfect reflection of the trees and leaves and sky….and I thought what a beautiful mirror for everything good, which brought me to think that God IS everywhere and his omnipotence is in everything around us. I also believe (I think) that our loved ones who have passed are meant to look out for us so when you ask for God to look out for you should add the names of those that died and were close to you too. I think we as human beings are responsible to watch out for our loved ones in life and death, and I think those that don’t complete it satisfactorily will have to do it after they die or maybe regardless of either they just do.
I’ve always thought that RELIGION is another form of prejudice so I’ve opted out. Not that I didn’t try every religion there is to test it out 🙂 I started going to Bible class when I was about 8 or 9, there was a bus that would come and pick us up. No one asked or suggested I go, I just saw a flyer at school about it happening in the summer. (FUNNY, you sure CANT post any RELIGIOUS flyers nowadays without getting sued for discrimination or at least screamed at by people and politicians). Anyway every Sunday I would go there and before Bible class we sat thru about 20 minutes of church; and the pastor would always ask if anyone wanted to be saved by Jesus Christ so I would walk up to the podium and get splashed with water over their bowl or tub (baptized). I did this for about five Sundays in a row, until the pastor took me aside and told me you only need one baptism to have your sins forgiven. I wasn’t embarrassed, too young for that, I just thought I was more ahead of the game due to other people only getting it done once:)
There are so many questions, and while religious people tell you not to question God, that is BULL. God would want us to question him, to learn more about him. I’ve never denied that God exists I just want to know in what form or matter, all the more reason to have respect for what you know. I will always have free time on my hands or even if I don’t I will always have questions and love for an entity I can’t ever be sure of, but who are we HUMANS to ever think we know what GOD or HEAVEN is? No one knows, and I’m not sure I believe wholly in the “light at the end of the tunnel stuff, especially when I’ve caught people in exaggerating about the event….but then maybe it does exists….Like I said who am I to pretend to know anything about God or his motives. I DO BELIEVE though that GOD DID OR DOES NOT CONDONE TERRORISM. There is no God that would warrant such torture or hatred that comes with these Islamic terrorist, or serial killers or anyone who uses their position to advocate hatred, torture and death.
I lived in IRAN with a lot of Islamic extremist and what I saw and went through in that POW camp was horrific. Do I stop for a minute and think was I that bad in the past to warrant such torture? Maybe I was, maybe I was not. But the important thing I believe is that I made it home ALIVE and am able to share with everyone my story. Regardless what it was for; information, education, inspiration, or self help the story has helped many people (or so I’m told). Even if it helps one person it was worth it. Also had I not gone through the torture in Iran, would I have met John. I truly think that if he was my light at the end of the tunnel I would do it again.
So there you have it my vanity card (or sermon) do with it what you may I just had to get this off my chest and find out what your opinions are on these subjects.
I welcome your comments.
Have a great day, a great week, and the best in life.
Thanksgiving is supposed to be a time to relax, watch football, share a good meal with friends and family. Let us not forget that while we have the capabilities and people around us to be happy, eating and laughing; homeless and the poor do not!
Volunteering at your local homeless shelter or a church that reunites people for this holiday. There are many homeless people that aren’t the stereotype of what we perceive, and even if they were they also need help and love. The fact of the matter is, if people look up to you for food, and socialization then they are humble and should be prayed for and helped.
While I know we all can’t be lifesavers everyday of our life, obviously budgets. weekly pay, and supporting our own families is usually all one can afford. But also remember that some of these homeless people have been veterans who were willing to die for our country and people they don’t even know or have seen their faces.
So lets make Thanksgiving not just a day for our families; but a day we pray for the homeless, a day we can help them, but let this only be a starting point for what we could volunteer for, donate for, or just spend some time with someone and LISTEN. We are all so caught up with ourselves that we don’t even realize there are OTHER people and sometimes it’s your own family you forget. CELL PHONES, VIDEO GAMES these have stolen our children from us….yet the families play a role in this as well. Tomorrow take a moment to put your cell phones away, help mom or day with cooking or other things, forget video games and reunite with your family. And WHO KNOWS you might actually enjoy spending time with them.
Just my thoughts on a day WORTH GIVING THANKS FOR!
Happy Thanksgiving and God Bless,
being the holiday of choice this month, these facts and TRIVIA should help you understand and laugh at the holiday’s WEIRD BEGINNINGS!
Halloween Trivia and Fun Facts
Because of the unknown, Halloween is the one of the most captivating holidays, often celebrated by both adults and children. The element of surprise makes it fun and unpredictable. Enlighten yourself with Halloween trivia and fun facts to enjoy the holiday even more. Take the trivia and make a quiz for your next party!
Halloween Holiday Trivia
- Orange and black are Halloween colors because orange is associated with the Fall harvest and black is associated with darkness and death.
- Jack o’ Lanterns originated in Ireland where people placed candles in hollowed-out turnips to keep away spirits and ghosts on the Samhain holiday.
- Pumpkins also come in white, blue and green. Great for unique monster carvings!
- Halloween was brought to North America by immigrants from Europe who would celebrate the harvest around a bonfire, share ghost stories, sing, dance and tell fortunes.
- Tootsie Rolls were the first wrapped penny candy in America.
- The ancient Celts thought that spirits and ghosts roamed the countryside on Halloween night. They began wearing masks and costumes to avoid being recognized as human.
- Halloween candy sales average about 2 billion dollars annually in the United States.
- Chocolate candy bars top the list as the most popular candy for trick-or-treaters with Snickers #1.
- Halloween is the 2nd most commercially successful holiday, with Christmas being the first.
- Bobbing for apples is thought to have originated from the roman harvest festival that honors Pamona, the goddess of fruit trees.
- Black cats were once believed to be witch’s familiars who protected their powers.
- The fear of Halloween is known as Samhainopobia.
Monster Trivia & Folklore
- Signs of a werewolf are a unibrow, hair palms, tattoos, and a long middle finger.
- Vampires are mythical beings who defy death by sucking the blood of humans.
- In 1962, The Count Dracula Society was founded by Dr. Donald A. Reed.
- To this day, there are vampire clubs and societies with people claiming to be real vampires.
- There really are so-called vampire bats, but they’re not from Transylvania. They live in Central and South America and feed on the blood of cattle, horses and birds.
- Many people still believe that gargoyles were created by medieval architects and stone carvers to ward off evil spirits.
Halloween Movie Details
- “Halloween” was made in only 21 days in 1978 on a very limited budget.
- The movie was shot in the Spring and used fake autumn leaves.
- The mask used by Michael Meyers in the movie “Halloween” was actually William Shatner’s mask painted white.
- The character Laurie Strode, played by Jamie Lee Curtis was named after John Carpenter’s first girlfriend.
- While the setting for the story is in Illinois, the vehicles have California license plates.
- Halloween is on October 31st, the last day of the Celtic calendar. It was originally a pagan holiday, honoring the dead. Holloween was referred to as All Hallows Eve and dates back to over 2000 years ago.
- If you see a spider on Halloween, it is the spirit of a loved on watching over you.
- Worldwide, bats are vital natural enemies of night-flying insects.
- The common little brown bat of North America has the longest life span for a mammal it’s size, with a life span averaging 32 years.
- In about 1 in 4 autopsies, a major disease is discovered that was previously undetected.
- The Ouija Board ended up outselling the game of Monopoly in its first full year at Salem. Over two million copies of the Ouija Board were shipped.
This information ; while some was gathered throughout various posts I’ve done or others I’ve asked permission to use theirs, but we all concluded this was a much needed look back. We…
Shortly after the Twin Towers fell on September 11, 2001, the nation began to mourn, and around the country Americans began to commemorate the victims and demonstrate their patriotism. Some flew the American flag from their front porches and car antennas. Others pinned it to their lapels or wore it on t-shirts. Sports teams postponed games. Celebrities organized benefit concerts and performances. People attended impromptu candlelight vigils and participated in moments of silence. They gathered in common places, like Chicago’s Daley Plaza, Honolulu’s Waikiki Beach and especially New York City’s Union Square Park, to post tributes to the dead and to share their grief with others. “I don’t know why I’ve been coming here, except that I’m confused” one young man in Union Square told a reporter from the New York Times. “Also a sense of unity. We all feel differently about what to do in response, but everybody seems to agree that we’ve got to be together no matter what happens. So you get a little bit of hope in togetherness.”
9/11 ATTACKS: U.S. REACTION
Meanwhile, people turned to their faith to help them make sense of the attacks. “We join with our fellow Americans in prayer for the killed and injured,” the imam at the Al-Abidin mosque in Queens told his congregation. At the WashingtonNational Cathedral, the Reverend Billy Graham implored his listeners “not to implode and disintegrate emotionally and spiritually as a people and a nation” but to “choose to become stronger through all the struggle to rebuild on a solid foundation.” And at Grace Church in Manhattan, the Reverend Bert Breiner asked parishioners to “please go forth into this world with love as though everything depended on it, because as we now know, everything does depend on it.”
Americans tried to bolster the rescue effort in any way they could. Cities and towns sent firefighters and EMTs to Ground Zero. Lines to donate blood at Red Cross offices and other blood banks were incredibly long–an entire day’s wait in Madison, Wisconsin. New and established charities raised money for the victims and rescue workers. It was possible to donate to the Red Cross with just one click on Amazon.com, and the organization raised $3 million that way in just two days.
But for some Americans, their grief manifested itself as anger and frustration, and they looked for someone to blame for the attacks. Reverend Jerry Falwell made news by saying on his television program “The 700 Club” that “I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way–all of them who have tried to secularize America–I point the finger in their face and say, ‘You helped this happen.’” And sadly, some anger erupted into attacks on people of Arab and Muslim descent, with nearly 600 incidents in the first 10 days after the attacks. Five hundred furious people mobbed a Chicago-area mosque and refused to leave until they were forced out by police. A Pakistani grocer was murdered in Texas. A man on an anti-Arab rampage in Arizona fatally shot a gas station owner who was an Indian-born Sikh. (This type of confusion was common since many Sikhs wear turbans, have beards and are seen as looking, as one told The New York Times, “more like bin Laden than Muslims do.”) FBI Director Robert Mueller said over and over again that “vigilante attacks and threats against Arab-Americans will not be tolerated,” but harassment and violence at mosques and in Arab-American neighborhoods continued for months.
Political leaders urged calm and promised aid. New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, who rose to national prominence thanks to his leadership in the wake of the attacks, urged decisive action against terrorism and encouraged New Yorkers to try to return to their normal lives. He appeared on “Saturday Night Live” with several firefighters on September 29 (in the opening monologue, Lorne Michaels asked if it was okay to be funny at such a sad time; Giuliani replied, “Why start now?”) and orchestrated a major promotional campaign designed to lure tourists back to his beleaguered city. New York Governor George Pataki activated the state’s Emergency Operations Center; created a new Office of Public Safety to check on the state’s bridges, tunnels and water supplies; and won bipartisan support for a plan to establish a Lower Manhattan Development Corporation and a state-run World Trade Center Relief Fund.
Meanwhile, President George Bush was able to win a broad mandate to act in the nation’s defense. In a speech on September 20, he asked citizens to be “calm and resolute, even in the face of a continuing threat” and promised that the United States would triumph over terrorism–”stop it, eliminate it, destroy it where it grows.” After the United States began military operations in Afghanistan in October, the president’s approval rating soared to 90 percent. Congressional leaders responded too: They passed a $40 billion disaster relief bill in September and, the next year, the USA Patriot Act, which gave investigators a great deal of leeway in their domestic surveillance activities and made immigration laws more stringent.
Despite such anti-terrorist measures, many Americans continued to feel uneasy. According to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine, nearly half of all Americans reported symptoms of stress and depression after the attacks. Many thousands of Americans lost loved ones on September 11. Millions more watched the unrelenting news coverage of the attacks, looked at the wrenching photographs in the newspaper and listened to heartbreaking interviews with firefighters, survivors and relatives of victims, feeling that, at least in some small way, the trauma of the day was theirs too. Memorials, commemorative ceremonies and time have helped many to begin to heal, but for others the shock and horror of that day in September remains painfully fresh.
9/11 ATTACKS: INTERNATIONAL REACTION
“Today,” the French newspaper Le Monde announced on September 12, 2001, “we are all Americans.” People around the world agreed: The terrorist attacks of the previous day had felt like attacks on everyone, everywhere. They provoked an unprecedented expression of shock, horror, solidarity and sympathy for the victims and their families.
Citizens of 78 countries died in New York, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania on September 11, and people around the world mourned lost friends and neighbors. They held candlelight vigils. They donated money and goods to the Red Cross and other rescue and relief organizations. Flowers piled up in front of American embassies. Cities and countries commemorated the attacks in a variety of ways: The Queen Mother sang the American national anthem at Buckingham Palace’s Changing of the Guard, while in Brazil, Rio de Janeiro put up huge billboards that showed the city’s famous Christ the Redeemer statue embracing the New York City skyline.
Meanwhile, statesmen and women rushed to condemn the attacks and to offer whatever aid they could to the United States. Russian president Vladimir Putincalled the strikes “a blatant challenge to humanity,” while German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder declared that the events were “not only attacks on the people in the United States, our friends in America, but also against the entire civilized world, against our own freedom, against our own values, values which we share with the American people.” He added, “We will not let these values be destroyed.” Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien denounced the “cowardly and depraved assault.” He tightened security along the border and arranged for hundreds of grounded airplanes to land at Canadian airports.
Even leaders of countries that did not tend to get along terribly well with the American government expressed their sorrow and dismay. The Cuban foreign minister offered airspace and airports to American planes. Chinese and Iranian officials sent their condolences. And the Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, visibly dismayed, told reporters in Gaza that the attacks were “unbelievable, unbelievable, unbelievable.” “We completely condemn this very dangerous attack,” he said, “and I convey my condolences to the American people, to the American president and to the American administration.”
But public reaction was mixed. The leader of the Islamic militant group Hamas announced that “no doubt this is a result of the injustice the U.S. practices against the weak in the world.” Likewise, people in many different countries believed that the attacks were a consequence of America’s cultural hegemony, political meddling in the Middle East and interventionism in world affairs. The Rio billboards hadn’t been up for long before someone defaced them with the slogan “The U.S. is the enemy of peace.” Some, especially in Arab countries, openly celebrated the attacks. But most people, even those who believed that the United States was partially or entirely responsible for its own misfortune, still expressed sorrow and anger at the deaths of innocent people.
On September 12, the 19 ambassadors of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) declared that the attack on the United States was an attack on all of the member nations. This statement of solidarity was mostly symbolic–NATO did not authorize any specific military action–but it was still unprecedented. It was the first time that the organization had ever invoked the mutual defense section of its charter (intended to protect vulnerable European nations from Soviet invasion during the Cold War). NATO eventually sent five airplanes to help keep an eye on American airspace.
Likewise, on September 12 the United Nations Security Council called on all nations to “redouble their efforts” to thwart and prosecute terrorists. Two weeks later, it passed another resolution that urged states to “suppress the financing of terrorism” and to aid in any anti-terrorism campaigns.
But these declarations of support and solidarity didn’t mean that other countries gave the United States a free hand to retaliate however, and against whomever, it pleased. Allies and adversaries alike urged caution, warning that an indiscriminate or disproportionate reaction could alienate Muslims around the world. In the end, almost 30 nations pledged military support to the United States, and many more offered other kinds of cooperation. Most agreed with George Bush that, after September 11, the fight against terrorism was “the world’s fight.”