Monday, September 14

The Crane and the Rainbow

The Crane

On September 11 a crane at a Bin Laden Group construction site fell into Mecca's Grand Mosque at a fateful moment. The incident happened at 5:24 p.m. local time according to Saudi Civil Defense Director Maj. Gen Suleiman al-Amro. That means it happened at 10:23 a.m. in the Eastern part of the United States. 

From Wikipedia's article on the crash of United Airlines Flight 93 on September 11, 2001 in Stonycreek Township, Pennsylvania:
The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) insisted to the 9/11 Commission that fighters would have intercepted Flight 93 before it reached its target in Washington, D.C., but the commission disagreed, stating that "NORAD did not even know the plane was hijacked until after it had crashed" and concluding that had it not crashed it probably would have arrived in Washington by 10:23 a.m.
Also, the counterattack from passengers aboard Flight 93 launched at 9:57 a.m. The flight crashed at 10:03 a.m.  The storm in Mecca that by all accounts toppled the construction crane must have been nearing its height around that time.  Moreover:
A strong thunderstorm developed over Mecca at about 4 p.m. local time Friday (9 a.m. ET), bringing gusty winds that shifted direction and caused the local temperature to drop from 42 to 25 degrees Celsius (107.6 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit), CNN meteorologists reported.
In other words, the storm arose just around the time the hijacked American Airlines Flight 11 was steered into the North Tower at 1 World Trade Center, which was at 8:46:30 a.m.

The storm in Mecca continued throughout the time that corresponds to the time of the entire 9/11/01 attack on Americans by purportedly devout Muslims.  

As to exactly when the storm ended, I don't know; one news report noted that the storm initially hampered rescue efforts at the mosque.  Photographs of ambulances taking away the injured show that the storm had abated by then. So the storm continued for some minutes after the crane toppled into the mosque, then stopped or greatly abated.

The mosque was described by some news reports as one of the holiest in Islam, but Wikipedia's article on the Masjid al-Haram (Grand Mosque) flatly states that it is the holiest mosque in the Mohammedan religion (as well as the largest).  That would make sense because the mosque surrounds the most sacred object for Mohammedans, the Kaaba and its Black Stone, the viewing of which are the major goals of pilgrims to Mecca. 

As how close the crane tower or its massive hook came to smashing into the Kaaba -- from the Daily Mail September 12 report, updated today:

Ahmed bin Mohammed al-Mansouri, the spokesman for the presidency of Mecca and Medina mosque affairs, said in a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency that the crane struck a circular area around the Kaaba and a nearby walkway.
The Rainbow

A little after 7:00 a.m. EST on September 10, 2015 a young New Yorker residing in a high-rise in Long Island City Queens that has a panoramic view of lower Manhattan went onto his apartment balcony to check the weather, as he does every morning. There was a rainbow spanning the city, and seeming to emanate from the 1 World Trade Center skyscraper, built to replace the twin towers destroyed on 9/11.

Ben Sturner, a CEO of a sports marketing company, couldn't believe his eyes. He raced back into his apartment and grabbed the only camera he had or could find quickly, which was on a broken i-Phone. His attempt at a truly panoramic shot didn't come out well -- this was a phone camera, after all -- but one came out great. He posted the photos to his social media pages, although he assumed at first that several others had gotten the same shots of the rainbow and were already posting them.

They had and they were, but none others had his vantage point, which shows the start (or end) of the rainbow at or very near the World Trade tower. His photos went viral. Internet denizens stared in wonder; for many the rainbow seemed a divine Sign, especially coming as it did on the eve of 9/11.

NBC News quickly got hold of the story and interviewed Ben. It turned out he had a personal connection with the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center. He wasn't in New York at the time, but his then-girlfriend was in one of the towers during the attack. She managed to escape unharmed.  So it seems fitting that Ben or someone like him, someone with a particular connection to the attack on the towers, should have preserved the sight of a very special rainbow.

A couple hours after he snapped the historic photos, the hauntingly beautiful Flight 93 National Memorial Visitor's Center opened for the first time. The building is located on a hill overlooking the field in Pennsylvania where Flight 93 crashed.

The next morning saw many 9/11 memorial services in the United States to honor the fallen, several of which the Daily Mail chronicled in a moving series of photographs.

Meanwhile, over in Mecca, a freakish storm had arisen.


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