On this day, fifteen years ago, America was attacked by a group of radical Islamic terrorists, who murdered thousands of men, women, and children. It was the worst attack on U.S. soil in U.S. history, and it was even more devastating than when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941.
We all know what happened. These terrorists hijacked four commercial airplanes, all of which were carrying passengers. At 8:46 AM Eastern time, American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the northern tower of the World Trade Center. At 9:03, United Airlines Flight 175 crashed into the southern tower. At 9:37, American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon. And at 10:03, after the passengers attempted to fight the hijackers and regain control of the plane, United Airlines Flight 93 crashed into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, which was just southeast of Pittsburgh. Its target was unknown, but it is assumed to be either the Capitol or the White House. By the time the body counts came in, it was estimated that at roughly three thousand people died. In America’s darkest day yet, the entire world witnessed to just how strong and courageous our nation was. Police officers, firefighters, port authority workers, military, and even random citizens rushed into danger, into fire, into smoke, into mountains of rubble, into almost certain death to save the lives of fellow Americans they had never met. Not just at the World Trade Center, but on Flight 93, and at the Pentagon. They performed their God-given duty, some of them even until they themselves gave their lives. These are truly America’s toughest, bravest, and finest people who could ever grace their country. We remember them still today.
The attacks caused widespread panic and confusion, but they did something more. Rather than serve as something to fear, the September 11 attacks served as a reason for the country to unite. We saw the face of true evil that day, and rather than flee before it, we stood up to it and told it to go back to the Hell from whence it came. When it comes to situations like 9/11, all differences between Americans cease to exist. No races, no creeds, no social classes, no political affiliations. We saw fit to unite as what we all are: Americans.
Today is a day of sadness and remembrance of this act of sheer cruelty and hatred, but it is also a day of resolve and of unity. Today, our solemn duty, in the name of the thousands murdered on this day fifteen years ago, is to unite as a nation and work together as Americans to keep our people safe from a ruthless enemy that wants nothing less than to utterly destroy us as a nation and to make our way of life a mere footnote in history.
We pray for the families who lost loved ones on that day.
But we also pray for the unity, the strength, and the resolve that we will need to face the challenges and trials to come.
God Bless America.