Wednesday, September 11, 2013

8:46 a.m. ... 9/11/2001 ... America is under attack as World Trade Center is hit

"We've defeated freedom's enemies before, and we will defeat them again. ... There is a difference between being alert and being intimidated and this great nation will never be intimidated." 
- President George W. Bush, 2001

8:46 a.m. It began with first one tower and then the other of the World Trade Center hit by commercial airliners. America was under attack.

It has been twelve years since the worst terrorist attacks ever on American soil on September 11, 2001, a beautiful morning in Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New York City. Most can remember where they were when they heard the news of commercial airplanes hijacked by al-Qaeda terrorists hitting the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, and crashing into a Pennsylvania field on its way to destroy the U.S. Capitol or White House in D.C.

Twelve years later the emotions are still raw for those who were affected by that day. While the memory has faded for some and a younger generation was too little for it to be significant, others will never forget.

On September 11, 2001, terrorists killed 3,030 people and 2,337 were injured. The oldest victim was 85 years old; the youngest was two years old and on her way to Disneyland.

Those 3,030 lost souls were from more than 90 nations; most were Americans. Sadly, 3,051 children lost a parent while 1,609 adults lost a spouse or partner.

New York City lost 343 firefighters and paramedics, and 75 NYPD officers perished. The ones who survived have deep emotional memories of that day.

Over 20 percent of Americans knew someone who was hurt or killed on 9/11. The resulting fires at the World Trade Center burned until December, 99 days after the attacks. More than 300 firefighters went on leave from respiratory problems as of January 2002; more have had problems in the years since. Clearing the sites involved removing 1,506,124 tons of debris.

The Pentagon, one of the most secure buildings in the world, was hit by hijacked American Airlines Flight 77 resulting in 124 deaths and 76 injuries at the Pentagon in addition to the loss of 64 passengers on the plane.

United Airlines Flight 93 spiraled into the ground outside Shanksville, Pennsylvania, taking with it 40 souls who fought back and prevented additional national tragedy when the plane did not reach Washington, DC.

President George W. Bush addressed the nation that night and promised to protect the American people and hunt down those responsible, saying, "Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America. These acts shatter steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve."

Today thank a military member, firefighter, police officer, and other First Responders ... say a prayer for those who were lost and their families ... educate the younger generation so they will be alert to this always-present danger ... and never forget.

9/11/2001: May we never forget.

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