In memory of all who lost their lives on 9/11.
September 11, 2001, was the day that shook America to its very core when a series of four coordinated terrorist attacks were launched against the U.S. In a matter of hours, four passenger planes were hijacked: two careened into the North and South towers of the World Trade Center in New York City; a third crashed into the Pentagon; and a fourth crashed in Pennsylvania after passengers tried to overcome the hijackers. In under two hours, we watched in horror as both 110-story towers collapsed to the ground in a pile of rubble, while fires broke out, surrounding buildings also incurred significant damage and other buildings collapsed, including the 47-story 7 World Trade Center. America was under attack.
The toll was staggering. There was an estimated $10 billion in direct property and infrastructure damage and $3 trillion in total costs, and some costs will never truly be accounted for. But the biggest toll was the loss of life. Approximately 3,000 people – men, women and children; civilians and first responders – lost their lives in this horrific attack, and nearly 10,000 more were treated for injuries, many of which were severe.
There’s no way to candy-coat it. The impact of 9/11 will last forever. Today marks the 15th anniversary of 9/11, and yes, it’s a somber time for us.
In the aftermath, President George W. Bush proclaimed: “Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America. These acts can shatter steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve.”
It’s difficult to explain our resiliency, even in the face of great pain, unless you directly experience it. So while we do remember the horrors, it’s also a time when we honor the heroes. We take a moment of silence, yet look at our strength. We experienced hate, but turn toward love.
In the end, it’s our spirit and determination to prevail in the face of pure evil that sets us diametrically apart from the terrorists. That’s why 9/11 is now memorialized as Patriot Day as well as National Day of Service and Remembrance. While we go about our day, we’ll remember the sacrifices made. We can visit the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, or take in sight of the Tribute in Light shining four miles into the sky with twin beams representing the towers.
But one of the most significant ways to honor those lives lost is to go do a good deed at the charity of your choice. That is the essence of the National Day of Service and Remembrance. Let’s combat evil with love, together.
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