Remembering 9-11

There are days in history that live forever in our minds. Everyone remembers where they were when they heard that John F. Kennedy was assassinated. When Pearl Harbor was attacked. When Ronald Reagan was shot. When John Lennon and Elvis Presley died. These events, and others, rocked the country to one extent or another.

Fifteen years ago, on September 11th, the world changed.

Across the country everything stopped. We watched in horror, hypnotized, as the planes crashed. As people jumped from the burning towers. As tons of concrete and steel crashed down into the streets of New York City and the Pentagon burned.

For the first time in U.S. history, American airspace was closed. Passengers were stranded around the world and across the country. Fighter jets were launched with orders to shoot down any commercial aircraft that could be confirmed hijacked, even if that meant crashing into them to take them down.

In the days and weeks following the disaster, thousands of police and rescue workers journeyed to New York to assist in rescue and recovery operations. Soldiers with M16s and dogs patrolled airport security lines. People walked in fear, waiting to see what horror would come next.

Still we watched. We watched the planes crash over and over again. We watched the towers fall, the debris cloud hurtling down the streets of New York. We watched as the stories unfolded. In the skies over Pennsylvania, the passengers of flight 93 took action to wrest control of the plane from the hijackers.

The death tolls rolled in, intensifying the horror. At the World Trade Center, 2,763 people perished in the towers or on American flight 11 or United flight 175. At the Pentagon, 55 military personnel, 70 civilians and 64 passengers and crew of American flight 77 lost their lives. And, in the fields near Shanksville, PA, another 40 passengers and crew were killed when their plane was crashed.

Messages of sympathy and shared anger poured in from around the world. Leaders of nations worldwide pledged support and solidarity for America, condemned the attacks, and vowed to take all necessary steps to combat all forms of terrorism.

As we reach this milestone let us all pause to remember those who lost their lives, or perished so that others would not, and make the solemn vow we will never forget this history-shaping moment and we will live our lives cherishing the freedoms we so frequently take for granted.


List of events commemorating 9/11