Ask any American old enough to remember September 11, 2001 and they will likely tell you exactly what they were doing the moment they heard that American Airlines flight 11, carrying 81 passengers, 9 flight attendants and 2 pilots, had flown into the World Trade Center’s North Tower in New York City.
I was sitting in a restaurant having breakfast with my 2 year old when my cell phone rang. My husband said, “Pay your bill, go home as quickly as possible, and stay there. A plane has flown into the North Tower of the World Trade Center. We don’t know if we are under attack, or if this was an accident, but all evidence seems to suggest we’re under attack.”
Shaken and stunned I hurried home, pleading with God as I drove to protect those who were injured, to comfort those whose loved ones had been killed, and to give wisdom and protection to those firemen and police officers who would be putting themselves in harm’s way.
For days, I was glued to my television in complete disbelief, unable to function.
What was unfolding before our eyes was an unprecedented attack on American soil. Both the North and South Towers of the World Trade Center were destroyed and the western side of the Pentagon was hit. And were it not for the sacrifice of the 40 passengers and crew aboard United Airlines flight 93, launching their own counterattack on the hijackers, the death toll would have been much greater.
We continued to watch in horror as people jumped from the burning towers, and hundreds of first responders ran into the North Tower of the World Trade Center just before it collapsed.
The days ahead would be some of the darkest in our nation’s history. Yet, Americans joined together to help our brothers and sisters in need, and the search for those missing continued for weeks on end. Our President, George W. Bush, led the nation with dignity and honor during those dark days. Under his leadership, Americans came together from both sides of the aisle. We were united in a common cause: America had been attacked, and those who were responsible would pay a great price. The country was forever changed.
Or was it?
For a long while, it seemed like life in America would never be the same. We’d been given a wakeup call, and each of us held our babies a little tighter and treated our fellow citizens with a great deal more dignity than we had prior to 9/11/01. Many, for the first time in their lives, turned to God. Churches were filled, lives were changed, and patriotism was contagious.
Life soon returned to our version of normal.
However a small faction of people began associating the word ‘terrorist’ with those fighting for our nation rather than the monsters that flew planes into buildings on 9/11.
What changed? How is it that, in just a few short years, the unity we felt in the days following 9/11/01 could disappear? Could we really have forgotten so soon?
Sadly, many did forget.
For the families of the 9/11 victims, life will never be the same and the memories will remain as fresh as they were that terrible September day. The responsibility to hunt down the terrorists who carried out the attacks fell on the shoulders of the brave young men and women in our United States military and our law enforcement officers here at home. Many of them volunteered just days after the attacks, and have given years of their lives protecting this country in one capacity or another.
I wonder how many of us ever stop to consider what it’s cost these brave souls and their families?
In light of the current and very heated political climate in which we find ourselves now, how can we remember the events of 9/11 and honor the memory of so many whose lives were taken?
We share the truth: the real history of 9/11, the true stories of the men, women and children who died that day and we air the footage.
We don’t hide it or refrain from talking about it for fear of offending those too gutless to recognize the truth.
We fly the American flag proudly, and we continue to honor and support those who are fighting for freedom both here at home and abroad.
Is that too much to ask? Are we too far gone as a nation that simply memorializing 9/11—which the history books are already trying to misrepresent– is just too risqué? History, after all, is often our greatest teacher.
On this day, eleven years later, how will you and your family honor the victims of 9/11?
For me, President George W. Bush summarized it best:
“Each of us will remember what happened that day and to whom it happened. We will remember the moment the news came, where we were and what we were doing. Some will remember an image of a fire or story of rescue. Some will carry memories of a face and a voice gone forever. And I will carry this. It is the police shield of a man named George Howard, who died at the World Trade Center trying to save others. It was given to me by his mom, Arlene, as a proud memorial to her son. It is my reminder of lives that ended and a task that does not end.
I will not forget the wound to our country and those who inflicted it. I will not yield, I will not rest, I will not relent in waging this struggle for freedom and security for the American people. The course of this conflict is not known, yet its outcome is certain. Freedom and fear, justice and cruelty, have always been at war, and we know that God is not neutral between them.
Fellow citizens, we’ll meet violence with patient justice, assured of the rightness of our cause and confident of the victories to come. In all that lies before us, may God grant us wisdom, and may he watch over the United States of America.”
Written by Tami Nantz