Written by Peter Boykin on September 11, 2020
“On this day… many years ago (September 10th) ago, 246 people went to sleep in preparation for their morning flights. 2,606 people went to sleep in preparation for work in the morning. 343 firefighters went to sleep in preparation for their morning shift. 60 police officers went to sleep in preparation for morning patrol. 8 paramedics went to sleep in preparation for the morning shift. None of them saw past 10:00am Sept 11, 2001. In one single moment life may never be the same. As you live and enjoy the breaths you take today and tonight before you go to sleep in preparation for your life tomorrow, kiss the ones you love, snuggle a little tighter, and never take one second of your life for granted.”
On September 11, 2001, almost 3,000 people lost their lives during the attacks at the Twin Towers, Pentagon and aboard United Airlines Flight 93. At 8:46 a.m. ET, American Airlines Flight 11 (traveling from Boston to Los Angeles) hit the north tower of the World Trade Center in New York City. At 9:03 a.m. ET, United Airlines Flight 175 (traveling from Boston to Los Angeles) hit the south tower of the World Trade Center in New York City. At 9:37 a.m. ET, American Airlines Flight 77 (traveling from Dulles, Virginia, to Los Angeles) hit the Pentagon Building in Washington. And at 10:03 a.m. ET, United Airlines Flight 93 (traveling from Newark, New Jersey, to San Francisco) crashed in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
As we remember the September 11 attacks of 2001, we often hear the slogan, “Never forget.”
And this is very appropriate. Despite the fact that many years have passed, the thousands of people who lost their lives on that day have left a huge hole that can never be filled.
It is also a day when we as a nation lost a certain optimism and innocence that may never return to us again.
For all these reasons, September 11 is a day that lives on in our collective national memory.
To the 9/11 heroes who gave their lives at the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and Pennsylvania, may you sleep soundly. As you look down lovingly at your family and friends, know that you are missed but not forgotten. To the surviving heroes, may the painful memories of the day ease with the knowledge that America supports you and your bravery. While our country recognizes and honors the anniversary of the September 11th tragedy, please know in your heart that all American citizens celebrate your bravery as we walk in freedom and fight against tyranny.
Most, if not all Americans can remember where and what they were doing when word spread about the horrific tragedy on 9/11.
The terrorists took many precious gifts away from America on 9/11. They took an enormous amount of lives. They also took away a sense of freedom and calm – at least for a short time. Inadvertently, however, the terrorists gave me and Americans something unexpected. We learned first hand about evil and people who knew very little about America. As a country we became unified; we were no longer naive about war, the importance of the military, and the necessity for preparedness. We also realized the importance to fight back and a sense that we cannot just sit back and let others put in all the effort.
As much as I saw our country change from the events of 9/11, a new dimension to my life began. I didn’t stop living or enjoying life, I simply saw life differently. I appreciated my country more. I started thanking firefighters, police, and the military every time I passed them.
These traditions continued to be a part of my life. They have become my way of saying “thanks for laying your life on the line every single day.”
Terrorists may be unknown, hiding in cells yet we are not afraid; we will win this battle. Many years ago our nation vowed that we would never forget. During the course of this weekend, we remind the terrorists “we will never forget!”
“The attacks of September 11th were intended to break our spirit. Instead, we have emerged stronger and more unified. We feel renewed devotion to the principles of political, economic, and religious freedom, the rule of law, and respect for human life. We are more determined than ever to live our lives in freedom.”
—Then-New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani