On the 20th anniversary of the 9-11 terrorist attacks on the United States how do we honor those who lost their lives that day in unselfish acts to save others?
What do we say to their family members who are left with only memories of those they loved?
What do we say to the family members who lost loved ones in the war in Afghanistan?
What do we say to the members of the 13 families who recently lost their sons and daughters in the truck bombing at the Kabul airport?
Our resolve for the past 20 years has been to prevent another attack on our soil. The war on terror is not over and never will be, as evidenced by the rapid resurgence of the Taliban in Afghanistan.
How do we as a nation recover, not only from the September 11, 2001 attacks, but from the recent tragic and ill-thought-out withdrawal from a war that started in retaliation for the 9-11 attacks?
We the people have suffered tremendous losses. We must never forget the sacrifices of those who protect our liberties, especially those who have given their lives for the cause of freedom.
And we must never forget that evil men with evil intentions will again attempt to destroy us. We must never cower, never retreat, never abandon the best great hope for freedom in the world, our United States of America.
The time line
September 11, 2001 was a clear day with perfect weather conditions. Very early in the morning everyone was going about their usual routine. On four transcontinental flights in the North East shortly after 8 a.m. the horror began to unfold. Following is the timeline:
- At 8:46 a.m. American Airlines Flight 11 from Boston struck the north tower of the World Trade Center in New York City.
- At 9:03 a.m. United Airlines Flight 175 from Boston hit the south tower of the World Trade Center.
- At 9:37 a.m. American Airlines Flight 77 from Dulles, Virginia, crashed into the Pentagon Building in Washington.
- At 10:03 a.m. United Airlines Flight 93 from Newark, New Jersey, crashed in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
The death toll
The death toll in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks included 2,753 at the World Trade Center complex in New York City. Of that total 335 were city firefighters, 8 paramedics, 23 police officers and 37 Port Authority police officers.
Another 184 people were killed when American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon. This included 125 inside the Pentagon.
Another 40 died in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where one of the hijacked planes crashed when passengers attempted to take over the controls. That flight was being diverted to Washington, DC where either the US Capitol building or the White House were the probable targets.
Quotes to remember
Our enemies have made the mistake that America's enemies always make. They saw liberty and thought they saw weakness. And now, they see defeat. President George W. Bush
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
Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty. John F. Kennedy