Posted 9/07/11 (Wed)
By Neal A. Shipman
What were you doing on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001?
If you were like most Americans, you were either busy getting ready to go to work or already at work. Our lives, as we knew it at that time were normal.
But at 8:46 a.m. (ET) on that beautiful fall morning, America forever changed as Al Qaeda terrorists, under the guidance of Osama bin Laden, hijacked four jetliners filled with passengers and flew two of them into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York causing the collapse of both buildings. A third hijacked plane crashed into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. while a fourth hijacked plane crashed into a field near Shanksville, Penn. when passengers fought back rather than let the terrorists hit another target.
All told, nearly 3,000 people died in the attacks including the passengers on the airplanes, people in the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, as well as hundreds of firefighters, policemen, rescue workers and other innocent people.
It was an event that will forever be known simply as - 9/11.
America, without a doubt, has changed a great deal since the attacks of 9/11. We have launched wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to hunt down bin Laden, the Al Qaeda and the Taliban in our War on Terrorism. And, as a result, thousands more American soldiers have given their lives in these wars to bring justice to those who launched the savage attack of innocent people on American soil. Americans have had to give up some of their freedoms because of these attacks and passengers on airplanes have had to suffer through a myriad of new, and oftentimes uncomfortable, searches to prevent another hijacking.
Even though bin Laden and other key leaders of Al Qaeda have been killed, for Americans who have lost family and friends in the 9/11 attacks, there is still no closure because many of the people responsible for the attacks have not yet faced trial and are still being held by the U.S. government in Guantánamo.
While the horrors of 9/11 will forever be burned into the hearts and minds of Americans just as was Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, these attacks did not destroy the resilience of Americans as was bin Laden’s hopes. Nor did it bring America to its knees. Instead it made Americans prouder, more patriotic, stronger and more resolute in our desire to bring freedom throughout the world.
And on this Sunday as we mark the 10th anniversary of this horrific attack, that is the message that America needs to share with the world.
Yes, we will forever honor the memories of those innocent people who lost their lives. But the best way for the United States to honor all of those who lost their lives on 9/11 is to continue doing what we have always done best - be a proud American.