I was just a little girl, when I came home from school and heard that we had tickets for the Olympic Games in Munich. The year was 1972 and I was 9 years old. Germany was neighbor state, only a few hours away and all we were excited about the road trip.
I had seen pictures of the new Olympic stadium in the newspaper and I couldn’t wait to go there and see it myself. The sweeping canopy was transparent; a symbol of the new, optimistic Germany and the official statement was, that the Olympic Games in Munich would be “The cheerful Games”.
The Olympic Games started and we had a wonderful trip. I don’t really remember the sporting event we watched, but I remember the atmosphere and the stadium, how it made me feel. People around us were cheering and so were we, it was a beautiful summer.
Then, only a few days later, we were sitting in our living room back home and watched the horrible news about the terrorist attack.
In the early morning of September 5, a group of Palestinian terrorists storms the Olympic Village apartment of the Israeli athletes, killing two and taking nine others hostage. The terrorists were part of a group known as Black September, in return for the release of the hostages; they demanded that Israel release over 230 Arab prisoners being held in Israeli jails and two German terrorists. In an ensuing shootout at the Munich airport, the nine Israeli hostages were killed along with five terrorists and one West German policeman. Olympic competition was suspended for 24 hours to hold memorial services for the slain athletes.
In the aftermath of the murders at the ’72 Olympics, the Israeli government, headed by Golda Meir, hired a group of Mossad agents to track down and kill the Black September assassins.
The Olympic Games were stopped, everybody was shocked, the world was in mourning.
I didn’t know what terrorism was, but learned it that summer. To me -as a little girl- it meant that evil men kill innocent people and they do it cowardly. They fight the way I had been taught not to fight. They come from behind and step you in the back; they attack when nobody expects them and they kill unarmed people.
The games were stopped; now the Olympic Stadium was filled with more than 80,000 officials, athletes and fans; they were all gathered to honor the 11 dead Israeli athletes, who were the victims of the terrible terrorist attack.
It looked like the games were over and then something happened, that nobody really expected. Avery Brundage, the President of the Olympic committee, got up and told the world, “The Games must go on,” they would continue out of respect to the murdered Israelis. The Olympic Games continued at 4:30 pm on Wednesday. The entire schedule was pushed back 24 hours and the closing ceremony was held on a Monday, instead of Sunday. We, the kids, got an extra week of summer vacation out of it.
The brutal terror attacks in Europe continued for years. People were murdered in the streets, people were taken hostage, hijacked, kidnapped and killed. It seemed for a long time that this was just a part of our everyday life and always would be.
Italy, United Kingdom, Germany, Austria, Spain, France, Sweden and so many others had to deal with different terror groups. One particular case will be stuck in my mind forever; it happened a few years later, when I was 14 years old.
Hans Martin Schleyer, a business executive had been kidnapped on September 5, 1977. I had never heard of him until that day; I had never seen his face before and today -almost 40 years later- I still remember the pictures I saw that year.
A German terror group was holding him hostage for 43 days and they published pictures of him in the newspapers. He was holding up different signs with different dates as proof of life, he looked broken, sad and defeated.
The terror group demanded the release of their imprisoned leaders and threatened to kill Mr. Schleyer, if Germany would not obey.
Germany didn’t give in to the demands of the terrorists. The imprisoned terrorists were all found dead in the cells on October 18th and Hans Martin Schleyer was killed the same day.
The pictures of a man that I didn’t know haunted me for years and I will never forget his face, but I although won’t forget the message that comes with it.
“Terrorist will NEVER win and there is no negotiating with them!”
ISIS didn’t invent terror! They are not special, they are just another group of evil fanatics and we should hunt them down, one by one, especially the ones that are hiding in our countries. We should interfere with their recruiting process and go after the people who finance these idiots.
I am with France, the war has already begun and we didn’t start it. My heart goes out to the refugees, who are caught in the middle. They ran away from ISIS and now it seems that ISIS made sure that they have no place to run to anymore.
This saddens me the most, we shouldn’t be so afraid, that we close the doors on people in need.
We should never show fear – The Games must go on~!
(Source Wikipedia, History.com, Stars and Stripes)