Veterans react, shocked by attack

Seventy-nine year old Robert Lloyd of Dayton was a machinist with an engineering squadron in the U.S. Army Air Corps stationed at Hickam Field, a base right at the mouth of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

The terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York Tuesday morning hit home to the veteran of World War II.

Lloyd spent Tuesday morning watching news reports of the events leading up to the attack, including a video of a commercial jet veering into the second of the two towers, followed by an explosion and fireball, spewing debris into the air and on the ground hundreds of feet below.

"Personally, it's such a tragedy like that of Pearl Harbor," said Lloyd from his home.

"My feeling is with all the technology we have now, we can't even protect our borders. It disturbs me to all ends we can't protect ourselves. I'm extremely disturbed."

Lloyd feels the least of the United States' protected borders is at the south, where the largest influx of aliens have penetrated U.S. lands.

"We've been attacked, it's a declaration of war by somebody, and those somebodies are terrorists.

"The best action to take (against the terrorists) is difficult to say. I'm just a little old joker in Northern Nevada. When we find out who it is we retaliate. Wipe 'em out. Just take 'em out. That's the way I feel. We should have taken out some people long before this.

"I do feel the military should be more active in protecting our southern border. Stand shoulder to shoulder if they have to. If this was a terrorist attack, they may have come in from that direction."

While watching the news reports, Lloyd was preparing his rifle and hunting knife for an extended hunting trip.

"It's a difficult thing to protect ourselves. Our military is here to protect the United States of America, not in foreign countries fighting their wars. We are part of the world and we do have to help. But why are we the first to help in any tragedy that happens in other countries? Then, when we do we're criticized for it."

Lloyd was wounded in the Dec. 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese. After World War II, Lloyd went to school and became a pilot for 17 years, retiring in July 1960. He enlisted in 1939.

"It didn't matter what ship you were on because it wasn't only the Navy that took the blast.

"World War II was the war that changed the world. The war started in Europe long before we got into it, and we had to get into it, we had to."

Lloyd started to mention a phone conversation with a fellow veteran in Texas he keeps in contact with, but began to get choked up, and his voice faded off.

"I just can't talk about it. I'm sorry," he said.


St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Community will hold special Masses at 7 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. today, and 7 a.m. Thursday and Friday. The church will also be open all week for prayer.


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