It was now 17 years ago, like this year, on a Tuesday, that the worst terror attack in American history took place. Though the years continue to pass by, and Sept. 11, 2001, fades further into the pages of our history books, we should never forget what happened on that day.
A whole generation of American adults now do not remember the horrors of what the history books simply refer to as Sept. 11. Perhaps only July 4, 1776, or Dec. 7, 1941, are more recognizable dates in American history.
Adults, now 20 years old, were only 3 on that dark day in American history. Many of today’s high-schoolers and all middle and elementary students weren’t even born. Pain that is still fresh for many of us was never known by these young citizens.
As a country, we have an obligation to first teach them about that day and then never let them forget.
The lives of the 2,996 people, including 16 terrorists, died when four hijacked commercial airliners were purposefully used as weapons.
Two planes were flown into the World Trade Center towers in New York City, one plane targeted the Pentagon just outside of Washington, D.C., and a fourth crashed in a field in Pennsylvania after determined heroes attempted to take over the plane from the hijackers. That act alone prevented perhaps thousands more deaths as it was believed that plane was headed for the Capitol or the White House. An attack on either of those buildings would have sent our government into turmoil.
The 343 firefighters who lost their lives trying to save others should always be remembered. While thousands were trying to escape the burning buildings, those men and women were headed towards the disaster. Others like them, in the local area and around the nation, do the same thing every day.
There were 71 law enforcement officers who died on Sept. 11 as they performed their duties and attempted to restore order. Again, we see men in blue in our own communities doing the same thing on a daily basis. It is easy to take all these heroes for granted.
A total of 35 members of the military lost their lives at the Pentagon as America came under attack. Hundreds more men and women have lost their lives in the international War on Terror which erupted following the attacks as they served in the military around the world. Even now, the lives of brave men and women are at risk at battle stations around the globe.
In the years since the attack, this date has taken on a name of its own, Patriot’s Day. It is a fitting title but the true meaning of the day is much more than honoring brave individuals.
We always need to remember American patriots, innocent victims and their sacrifices, but, as a nation, we should never forget the pain of that day. Doing so sets the nation on a path to letting it happen again.