Deadliest Terrorist Attack on United States Soil: Remembering September 11, 2001
The deadliest terrorist attack on United States soil brings up memories for those of us who lived through it. Think back. Where were you on September 11, 2001? Were you one of the rescuers saving lives? Were you amongst the thousands walking away from the devastation, across the bridge, through a cloud of debris and smoke? Were you frantically trying to call loved ones who were somewhere in all that destruction and chaos? Were you watching the horror on TV, with tears running down your face, and your mind in total shock? Where were you?
Never Forget became the call to remembrance…but do we remember? Do we remember that it was 19 Islamic extremist al-Qaeda militants, who flew three planes into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon as if they were missiles? Suicide attacks. Their beef with America was our support of Israel, our involvement in the Persian Gulf War, and our continued military presence in the Middle East. This was an act of war. Thoroughly planned and executed from our soil. Do the youth who are ‘standing’ for gun control and socialism even know?
A Personal Story
As I write this article, the sorrow and the pain reassert itself. Tears run down my face again. That is remembering. The emotional connection to the horror. Not pushing it away…
I got to work late. I wasn’t feeling well that morning. It was almost 10:00 am. I came into the office and everyone was gathered around the TV. There was a strange silence in the room except for some weeping. I looked at the TV. I saw the news outlet replay the planes hitting each tower… first the North Tower at the 80th floor. Smoke… people leaping?!?! My mind was confused. I couldn’t make sense of what I saw. I know that building, but I don’t know what I’m seeing. Then the South Tower. I actually had to ask someone, “What am I seeing?”
As soon as my mind started working again, panic set. My computer-technology brother-in-law has accounts in the towers and in the buildings all around the towers. He spends his days in the towers. Running to my desk to call my sister, I could not get through. I tried again and again. Finally reaching her, I found her in a panic. She couldn’t reach him. All I could think of was my sister with a toddler and a new born facing the greatest horror of her life. I was so far away – she in New York, me in California.
It was well into the late afternoon before my sister knew that her husband was one of the thousands walking away from the devastation in a cloud of falling debris and smoke. We had a miracle. One of his customers down the street from the towers had an emergency. He was not in the towers that morning. Though we were spared the grief of losing him, 2,996 families had someone they treasure ripped away. Some 6000 families had injured loved ones. 343 New York City Firefighters, 23 New York City police officers, and 37 Port Authority officers died. As a nation, a hole ripped thorough the fabric of our red-white-blue soul.
Loaded with 20,000 gallons of jet fuel, terrorists turned 4 planes loaded with ordinary American citizens into guided missiles, targeting facilities full of tens of thousands of other ordinary American citizens. At 8:46 a.m. and 9:03 a.m., American Airlines flights 11 and 175, torpedoed first the North Tower of the World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan, and then the South Tower. 9:37a.m., American Airlines flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon in Washington DC, killing 184 people. Near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, at 10:03 a.m., 40 passengers and crew on United Airlines flight 93 died as they took their plane down in a field, keeping that plane from reaching its destination.
We Will Never Forget
The heroism of that day will forever echo across history. Americans risking their lives to save the lives of those whom they know not. Remember those in the towers and the Pentagon helping each other. Never forget the passengers and crew of flight 93 who overwhelmed the hijackers and crashed the plane. Remember the First Responders who ran into blazing, falling towers. We remember all who lost their lives. We will not forget the cost of war on our soil.
Susan Skommesa is a freelance writer and editor with The Northeast Texan. Her many interests include studying Biblical and Paleo-Hebrew, renovating houses, all things health and nutrition, knitting, homesteading, and teaching and writing on topics of faith, gardening, pets, chickens, and human interest.