Seventeen years ago today, the breathtaking New York City skyline was tarnished by a heinous and cowardly terrorist attack. A clear, sunny day was turned into a gruesome scene as hijackers crashed a commercial airplane into the North Tower of the World Trade Center.
More attacks followed at the World Trade Center’s South Tower and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. As information about the day’s event reached the passengers of a hijacked United Flight 93, the heroes on board fought to get back control of the plane. Their heroism kept the hijackers from carrying out their nefarious objective as the plane crashed into a field in Pennsylvania.
Lives were changed forever on 9/11. There were children whose parents never returned home, husband and wives who never saw each other again and friends that never got to enjoy each other’s company again.
The terrorists’ goals — beyond the death and mayhem caused on the day — were to strike fear in the heart of Americans.
What they and the rest of the world learned instead is that America doesn’t flinch when our citizens are attacked.
First responders immediately sprang into action when the attack began. Police officers, firefighters and other personnel charged into harm’s way to help those still trapped in the towers and evacuate as many people as possible. For their heroic effort, hundreds of first responders lost their lives when the towers fell, while thousands of others have battled illnesses related to their life-saving efforts.
The attack was a flashbulb memory for anyone who was old enough to understand what was happening.
People will remember where they were and what they were doing when they heard the news or saw the second plane fly into South Tower on television. A tragedy of that magnitude should never be forgotten.
What should also be forever imprinted into our collective conscience is how we came together as a country in the aftermath of such a horrific event.
No matter how devastating the attack, our American spirit will shine through and provide a beacon of light to combat the darkest of ambitions.