Tuesday, 17 January 2012 18:10
By Ann Capotosto, San Diegans for 9/11 Truth
On the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, many commemorations were being held across the nation. While an official ceremony to show support for the war in Afghanistan was taking place on the deck of the retired USS Midway in San Diego, a group of 9/11 activists was set up across the way with an impressive 40-foot-long display of photos and information on what really happened that fateful day.
|Air Force Lt. Col. David Gapp (Ret.) educates passersby about 9/11 Truth in the same uniform he wore in the latest ad from the Remember Building 7 campaign|
This is no ordinary band of street activists. San Diegans for 9/11 Truth includes an impressive group of experts who give one Sunday per month to freely share their collective knowledge on the subject. On hand were Dwain Deets, former NASA Chief of Aerospace Projects Director; Ret. Air Force Lt. Col. David Gapp, former crash site investigator; Ted Muga, former Naval aviator, retired Commander and retired Pan Am pilot; Jerry Bischoff, retired architect; and Ginger Gainer, retired American Airlines flight attendant and purser. Members of Veterans for Peace also provided support – including Vietnam and Iraq War vets.
The day started inauspiciously as the display was being set up. A couple walked by and the woman pointed to one of the banners with quotes from noted military officials. "Look, honey, Gen. Wesley Clark," she said. They stopped to read the banner and the expressions on their faces dropped as they realized the purpose of the display. The man turned in anger and yelled to us, "Cowards! None of you served!" Immediately Ted Muga pointed over to the USS Midway and replied, “I flew in Vietnam and served on that very vessel.”
We feared that was going to be the tone for the day – especially given the media hype to mark the anniversary – but the rest of the day was very smooth as servicemen and servicewomen, firemen, police, pilots and flight attendants all filed by on their way to the Midway. Many stopped to peruse the boards and ask questions.
On the east end of the display was a TV with a loop of the powerful 15-minute documentary from AE911Truth, Architects and Engineers: Solving the Mystery of Building 7 – narrated by Ed Asner. I was standing by the TV when a man riding by on his bicycle stopped to watch. I stood by silently letting him take it in, and witnessed utter shock come over him as he watched the footage of Bldg. 7 collapsing. "That’s a controlled demolition!” he exclaimed. “I know, I’m a demolition expert!" It turns out that he is a disabled retired Navy Seal. He had never seen this footage before.
I called Dwain Deets over and the two of them started talking. It was very evident that this man knew what he was talking about. It also turns out that he was making his way across the U.S. on his bicycle, living on the streets. His disability award is not enough to live on.
There were several New Yorkers who stopped by including a young woman who lost a relative in the towers and wanted to know what happened, a firefighter who was a first responder at Ground Zero who suffers yearly with pneumonia, and servicemen, active and retired, all asking questions. Some wanted to argue, but for the most part they left with a more open mind and many more questions than when they started.
|Dwain Deets (right) built scale models to show the difference in size between San Diego’s tallest building and WTC 7, the third skyscraper to be destroyed on 9/11|
Hundreds of free DVDs and flyers were given away, some subtitled in Spanish. Many foreign visitors stopped to chat. For the most part, they are far better informed than the average American. Late in the afternoon, an Air Force officer attached to the Department of Homeland Security stopped to question Dave Gapp about the appropriateness of wearing his uniform. Gapp replied that it was an official ceremony and he was allowed.
Then Dave told the gentleman point blank, "I used to believe the official story, and then woke up one day when things stopped making sense. You need to look into this." They shook hands and the officer went on to the Midway ceremony, but I did notice that he came back afterwards and hung back and watched. A seed had been planted.
|A display dedicated to the casualties of the 9/11 wars attracted this disabled veteran|
Late in the afternoon, a young wheelchair-bound veteran came by with his mother. Both of his legs were missing above the knees, and one hand was gone. The scars on his arms were still pink. He was locked onto a display dedicated to the disabled veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. He stared and stared at a photo of a Marine in dress blues with an artificial leg. The pain on his face was palpable and I had to walk away to compose myself. He was still there when I returned fifteen minutes later, this time further down the line looking at photos of the buildings in mid-collapse. His mother took a DVD and said he wanted to go to the showing of the new full-length AE911Truth documentary, 9/11: Explosive Evidence – Experts Speak Out, which the group was showing at a community center that evening. The Final Edition of this DVD will be available in early February.
My husband, Mike Chickey, and I make the drive from L.A. to San Diego once a month in order to be able to stand with this amazing group. The rules are simple, no shouting or bull-horning allowed. Each person is treated with respect and encouraged to investigate the trail of 9/11 Truth on their own. We supply the breadcrumbs for free!