17 years ago today, tragedy struck the United States in a way we had never seen before. Terrorist attacks on New York and D.C. killed nearly 3,000 Americans and changed the way our nation operates forever.
Everybody knows the story.
They know what they were doing that day, at the exact moment that the first plane struck the World Trade Center.
They know the confusion and devastation that followed.
Millions were glued to their televisions in rapt attention as the story unfolded; thousands of first responders and survivors were there for it firsthand. Later generations have heard it from their parents or learned about it in school. Each and every American experienced the aftereffects of this catastrophic event.
9/11 has had long-lasting implications. For our national security, our legislation, our global relationships, our military — the list goes on.
There are limitations for any American getting on a plane; what you can and can’t carry is policed with a heavy hand, and there is heightened attention to fliers’ identities and proof thereof. Immigration policy and border security was immediately addressed by lawmakers. The way we travel, and how others travel to us, will never be the same.
It has also completely altered America’s international politics and relationship with the Middle East. It spurred almost immediate U.S. military action in Iraq, and later Afghanistan.
Pictures and videos do not capture the horror of what happened the morning of September 11th, but they act as a symbol of it to remind us of the damage we sustained. Though the emotional and economic impact can never be forgotten, it was the acts of selflessness and bravery on that day that we should truly emphasize.
The Americans on the hijacked airplane headed for the White House came together and overwhelmed the threat, directing the plane away from others’ harm at the cost of their own lives. First responders and heroic citizens at the scenes of the attacks put themselves at risk to save others. Many decided to enlist in the military after the event, passionate that they could make a positive difference.
The 9/11 Tribute Museum in New York City will be holding their 10th annual National Day of Service & Remembrance event. Volunteers are building bicycles for the children of active-duty military and first responders. Other remembrance events will take place in all 50 states and will incorporate everything from food drives to painting and refurbishing homes, reclaiming neighborhoods, etc.
To donate or find out more, visit: https://911tributemuseum.org/911-day-of-service-remembrance/
Today, flags will be flown at half-mast. A moment of silence is observed at 8:46 AM, the time of the first attack. Entire communities hold services of remembrance, with flowers laid, prayers said and memorials visited. Remember that in the face of utter chaos and massive loss, the United States and its citizens remained strong. And still does 17 years later.