RUDI DEKKERS UNwittingLY TRAINED THE 9/11 TERRORISTS who flew into the WTC in nY
Who remembers the 90’s?
I love the 90’s!
The dot com boom, fitness Craze, Monica Lewinsky
Also, the 90’s were a time when the American Dream was alive and well.
I wanted to be a part of that.
And I’m not even American...can you tell...do I have an accent?
OK, I’m Dutch.
And you know what they say,
“If you ain’t Dutch, you ain’t much.”
Imagine....we’re in the year 2000
you own your own business
You are living the American Dream
You’ve always wanted that clothing boutique,
a Harley Davidson store
Maybe you have your own restaurant.
Back then, you welcomed all customers... back then it was business. Back then, you were not suspicious. You didn’t discriminate. You welcomed all customers.
Back then we weren’t thinking about terrorism here in the United States.
Myself? I owned a few flight schools in Florida in 2000, and a Airline.
I was living my dream.
It was July 2000
And two guys came in asking for information about lessons.
How was I to know that they were about to become mass murderers?
I’m going to tell you the story.
I come from a humble background...
I’m from Amsterdam (insert a joke, red light district + tulips)
I came to America as an immigrant
because there are so many opportunities here in this country.
I’ve always loved flying, so I started a business, a flight school, with one airplane.
And it grew to a hundred!
And they’re expensive.
They say in aviation you can be a millionaire....
you start with two million dollars... and within a year you end up with One million.
So, like I said, in July 2000, two Middle Eastern guys walked into my flight school.
Today you may think that sounds suspicious.
But back in 2000, we didn’t think about terrorism here in the US
and most of my customers were foreigners,
as am I.
And...to be honest...flight training in America is cheaper than it is in other parts of the world,
so you’re going to get a lot more foreigners.
So these two guys, if I told you they were fun, easy-going, friendly, I would be lying. They weren't.
But you don’t have to like your customers.
(in a low voice) Or your boss.
They stayed through December of 2000 and then I never heard about them again...
...until Sept. 12 of 2001, when I got a call from the FBI.
I was watching CNN on TV, like the rest of America.
The FBI said they were looking for two files
Mohamed Atta and Al-Shihhi.
When the agent mentioned those names I realized I was connected to 9/11.
I gave the FBI the files they wanted, plus a ton more. I told them to take all the computers and phone records. I actually over-documented everything, and because of my records, the FBI was able to be immediately in Germany, where the terrorists were originally stationed.
The FBI had told me not to talk to the press.
But I had nothing to hide, and I took on the position of an open book.
I testified before Congress and they said I did everything by the book. (insert headline)
This helped me.
The American people saw that I was a regular business man drawn into a horrible situation and used by terrorists, like so many others.
9/11 was Unbelievable and still is.
Even the people who were involved with the event for 5 minutes
(ticket takers, air traffic control, etc.)
they took on the responsibility for the trauma, and many of them are still affected today, they are basket cases.
Why did I survive the amount of involvement I had?
Why am I stronger today?
Hey, it wasn’t easy for me. I had hundreds of death threats.
I bit my nails down to the bone, I developed serious health concerns.
I hurt every single day.
So what was it that helped me mentally get through this.
I had to take a long look at the situation to make peace with myself.
So think about it...
these two men drove cars, had drivers’ licenses issued by the government.
bought their groceries, rented housing, they belonged to a community that accepted them.
Are we now all responsible for making life possible for them in this country?
We’re just people, a society, running our businesses and doing our jobs...to feed and care for our families.
I asked all 60 of my employees, in Venice, if we saw something or could have seen something that was out of the ordinary.
None of us did. We did nothing wrong.
This was the first step in how I survived.
But I had to go deeper.
I had to go back to my childhood. To the center of Amsterdam.
It was rough.
We were very poor. We lived on a houseboat
with no water and no electricity.
My parents did not give me not much love. And they didn’t have any money.
I searched for pennies under the wooden floor at the circus.
My survival instincts came a very young age.
Heck, I was polishing shoes at 7 years old on the Dam
Not having anything as a kid was kind of a benefit for me. I was a scrapper. I got by.
People continually ask me, “How do you live with it everyday?”
It boils down to three words: Integrity, Strength, and Love
Let’s talk about Integrity.
When I talk about Integrity, I’m talking about following the rules, doing it right, being thorough, being professional and having follow-through.
When you are honest and forthright, when you have nothing to hide, you can sleep at night.
Dekkers Did It By The Book!
Let’s talk about Strength.
Like when the FBI told me not to talk to the press.
It takes strength to take a position and tell the FBI that I have nothing to hide...and that coming forward it the answer.
Strength is about controlling your emotions.
Strength is knowledge.
I have experienced in life that today’s problems will by cut in half by tomorrow if you sleep on them.
Don’t be part of the problem, be the solution.
Strength is: accepting that not everybody is going to always like you. Talk about the 80/20 rule.
I believe it was strength that go me through.
Strength is the bridge between
Integrity and Love
Speaking of Love, this is my third word.
You have to have self-respect.
If you don’t have self respect, you can’t respect or love others.
Believe in yourself. Stand for yourself.
I believe you have to love your work. You don’t want to spend 30 years doing something you don’t love.
If you don’t love your job, find something about it that you do love.
In 2003, after 9/11
I was managing two flight schools, trying to keep my business going, but losing money.
Flying a helicopter between both locations everyday.
Crash, with my helicopter, in the river.
Coldest day in Florida in 100 years
Laying on the bottom of the ocean.
Had the thought to let himself die.
Will to live, to see his granddaughter.
Go home and grab onto someone you love.
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