Fifteen years later, Sept. 11, 2001, still stands as a horrific mile marker in the history of our country.
If you’re old enough, you remember where you were and what you were doing when you heard of the terrorist attacks. That puts 9/11 in the same category as other tragic events, such as the attack on Pearl Harbor, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. and the Challenger space shuttle explosion.
You remember hearing the news of what at first seemed to be a terrible accident when one plane hit the World Trade Center. You remember the horror and the outrage when you learned the plane crashes in New York, Washingtion, D.C., and Shanksville, Pa., were the result of intentional acts.
In all, nearly 3,000 died at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and in the field in Pennsylvania where United Flight 93 crashed.
The attacks triggered a war in Afghanistan and a wider war against terrorism that has claimed the lives of thousands in our military. The fight continues today.
For most of us, though, the effects of 9/11 and the war on terrorism are felt at the airport and in doing business where our citizenship and identity are more thoroughly checked. We remove our shoes in airport security lines and limit the liquids and gels we pack in our carry-on bags. We may have had to track down our birth certificates to prove we are who we say we are.
Amid that backdrop, we choose today to honor those who died in the attacks of 9/11 and the subsequent war on terror.
We remember the police and emergency workers who gave their lives helping others after the terrorist attacks. We remember the heroes of Flight 93 who chose to fight when they realized the intent of those at the controls of their plane. We honor those who have served our country to keep us safe from further attacks. We are thankful for the public safety people in our own communities who have seen the scope of their jobs change since 9/11.
We remember the patriotism stirred by the attacks on 9/11, the refreshing political unity that followed, the flags flown on our cars and porches, the support given to the military. America pulled together after the attacks of 9/11.
Today, we ask our leaders to honor those who died by finding common ground rather than focusing on differences. We ask them to follow through on campaign pledges to support the military and our veterans with adequate pay, equipment and health care.
We call on everyone to reflect today on the events of Sept. 11, 2001, and those who died. We call on everyone to reignite the unity and patriotism that sprang from that terrible day.