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article imageLow-flying plane sends New Yorkers back to September 11 attacks

By Nikki Weingartner     Apr 28, 2009 in Politics
A government approved photo shoot sent New York city scrambling for safety as the sounds of a low-flying jet engine and images of September 11th were brought back to light. The White House issued a formal apology but is it enough?
In a secret government approved photo opportunity gone awry, the aircraft used by the United States President as Air Force One was given the "OK" to engage in a low fly over of New York's Manhattan area. However, the outcome of the fly-by was anything but awe inspiring as local citizens reminded of recent terrorist attacks simply panicked.
For some who were going about their daily business, the sight of the large 747 aircraft followed by two F-16s reminded people of September 11th, sending them into a state of self-preservation. Twitter became an instantaneous source of images and comments, with the first picture allegedly coming from the site, as explained in another source.
According to a CNN news report, one reporter was able to snap a photo of the event as it happened, calling it "unsettling." Even mental health professionals were negatively affected by the event, with one counselor stating that she had a panic-attack as she saw the plane looking "like it was about to come into us." That same counselor received numerous calls on Monday morning from PTSD patients who suffered during 9/11 in relation to the event.
White House officials stated that proper notification of the photo shoot, which was intended to update photo files of the President's official aircraft, was implemented in advance:
Capt. Anna Carpenter of Andrews Air Force Base said local law enforcement agencies and the Federal Aviation Administration had been given notice of the exercise.
"While federal authorities took the proper steps to notify state and local authorities in New York and New Jersey, it's clear that the mission created confusion and disruption."
However, local police Deputy Commissioner Paul J. Browne said that they were given "directives to local authorities not to disclose information about it."
Both President Obama and Mayor Bloomberg were apparently very upset at the authorization, with Bloomberg stating:
"First thing is, I'm annoyed -- furious is a better word -- that I wasn't told," he said, calling the aviation administration's decision to withhold details about the flight "ridiculous" and "poor judgment."
An action that the Mayor stated he would have tried to stop had he known. Even New York Senator Chuck Shumer showed great disdain for the action, calling it "outrageous" and even "cruel" during a press conference.
On Monday, officials from the White House accepted ultimate responsibility for the so-called mishap, and apologized. An apology, however, that may not be enough for a city suffering from such a devastating loss of life and safety. One mental health professional was said to be launching a class-action lawsuit due to the insensitive event that likely created further emotional trauma for patients.
Many evacuated buildings in the area and even more ran for safety as the all to fresh memories of the September 11, 2001 attack on New Yorks World Trade Center towers that claimed the lives of over 2,600 New Yorkers and still affect their families and friends today. The events that occurred on that day were spearheaded by Al-Quaeda and the hijackers came from Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Lebanon.
Sadly, those who were tragically affected by the events of 9/11 were provided once again with a horrific reminder due to a lack of planning and notification somewhere down the line.
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