I’ve been watching footage taken eight years ago today of the attacks on the World Trade Center. It’s hard to blink back tears as I see the repeated videos of the planes flying into the twin towers, and try to imagine what people are feeling at that moment…in the towers, on the ground, across this land of ours. These are absolutely horrific scenes that are forever emblazoned into the minds of everyone in this country.
These are difficult videos to watch. It’s been one thing over the years to see explosions on TV movies that don’t mean anything. But on these videos, thousands of people, going about their business on what originally looked like a gorgeous, cloudless, eventless Tuesday morning, suddenly and brutally saw their lives cut short. Families and friends of those killed collapsed in sorrow and anguish, and thousands of New Yorkers and millions of Americans threw aside plans that suddenly seemed insignificant, and offered whatever support they could, be it aid on the spot, or prayers from afar.
It would be remiss for me to not mention the firefighters and police forces who did all they could to save lives that day; many of them sacrificed their lives to do so. It would also be remiss not to mention the attack on the Pentagon, which killed nearly 200 people. Finally, it would be remiss not to acknowledge the attempted attack on the Capitol or the White House that was successfully foiled by brave plane passengers well away from Washington, DC, in the small town of Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Neither of these attacks were as visible as the attacks in New York City, but each was horrific in their own right.
The last time an attack by foreign interests was carried out on American soil was December 7, 1941 “a date which will live in infamy,” when Japanese forces attacked Pearl Harbor on the (then) territory of Hawaii. That attack thrust our country into World War II and changed our history forever. And eight years ago, the attacks on American soil thrust us directly into a new age where terrorism, not officially declared war, has become the most diabolical means of international aggression. September 11 has become one of the most pivotal days in our nation’s history, one in which some semblance of innocence and optimism about our future has been forever lost.
I have no intention of making this blog into a political soapbox; this is not what you come here to read. The reasons behind this attack are multifaceted and some theories are controversial. But I feel it is important that we take time out today to honor – however we can – those whose innocent lives were taken on September 11, 2001.
May we never forget.