Never Forget 9/11
Never Forget 9/11
Like most Americans older than 25, I know exactly where I was 18 years ago. On that terrible morning, 9/11 became my generation’s Pearl Harbor. The world tilted and upended. Our sense of security was shattered with the news terrorists hijacked four passenger planes. Two flew into the Twin Towers. Another crashed into the Pentagon. The fourth crashed into a field outside Shanksville, PA. America was at war, whether we wanted to admit it or not. We must never forget the events of that day.
Across the country, and around the world, people sat glued to their televisions. We watched in disbelief as the billows of smoke coming from the Twin Towers turned to flames. We couldn’t believe our eyes as the towers came down. Our hearts and prayers went out to those people we knew were trapped inside. Then we saw Hell on Earth as smoke and debris from the collapse filled the sky, blanketing everything for miles around.
Who can forget the sight of countless people running for their lives as the smoke cloud rolled down the streets of Manhattan?
Then came news of the crashes at the Pentagon and outside Shanksville and our lives, our country, would never be the same again.
We saw true evil that day. This was not an attack against military targets. The terrorists, cowards one and all as far as I’m concerned, chose to attack in such a way civilian casualties were maximized. More than two-thirds of approximately 3,000 who died as a result of the events that day were civilians.
This was an attack at the very fabric of our nation in an attempt to break us.
We may have bent, but we did not break. We rallied, we responded and we pulled together. We showed the world what these United States of America could do when we put our minds to it. People around the country stood in line for hours to give blood. First responders from around the country made their way to New York and DC to help out. People in Manhattan opened their doors to strangers stranded there because the island had basically shut down in the aftermath of the attack.
We stood America Strong.
9/11 had another impact, one I hadn’t considered when I first heard the news about what happened. My son was at school, like so many others, that day. Even though the administration there made sure the students were kept away from the news, the kids knew something had happened, something bad. Their teachers looked worried, sad. They spoke softly to one another, keeping a watchful eye out to make sure none of the students came close enough to hear.
Over the course of the next several days, I did my best to explain what happened to my son. I reassured him I would do everything possible to keep him safe. We talked about situational awareness, something I’d drilled into him pretty much from birth. What I didn’t know was what long term impact the events of that day would have on him and those his age.
We are only now beginning to really see how that day, and the weeks and months that followed, impacted our children. The media loves to play up how they are the ones marching with Antifa or calling for the destruction of the basic tenets of our nation. It would be so easy to fall into that trap and believe their propaganda.
The vast majority of our young adults are responsible, patriotic citizens. They are our teachers, our first responders. They are like my son, who along with several friends, signed his papers on the 10th anniversary of 9/11 and joined the Air Force. He finished college, was commissioned and is currently on active duty. He, like others, plan to make the military his career because he wants to serve this country, to protect it from our enemies.
He, and those like him, remember those first responders who rushed into the Twin Towers after they were hit. Those men and women didn’t let their fear of being trapped–or worse–stop them. They knew their duty and they remain shining examples of the best we can be.
So, as we go through the day today, remember those onboard the four flights who didn’t know when they boarded, it would be their last flight. Remember their loved ones who continue to mourn their loss. Remember the sacrifice of those first responders who rushed headlong into danger in the hope they could help someone else survive. And never forget this was a cowardly attack on our country and our values. We didn’t let the enemy win then and we can’t let them win now.
Remember our children who have taken up the heavy mantle of those first responders and of the military personnel who have been involved in the War on Terrorism since that terrible day 18 years ago.
Most of all, never forget what happened on 9/11. Do not let those souls die in vain.