September is American History Month. September 11, 2001 is an important date in American History, and since over and over we hear “Never forget”, here is my take on that day.
On Tuesday morning, Sept. 11, 2001, everybody in American was going about their business. That morning, 19 terrorists from the Islamic extremist group Al-Qaeda, boarded 4 different commercial planes, disguised as passengers. After take-off the terrorists took over 2 of the planes using box cutters and diverted them to New York City to crash into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. Those towers eventually collapsed, killing 2,750 people including civilians, firefighters and police.
A third plane was hijacked the same way by the terrorists but was diverted to Arlington, Virginia to crash into the Pentagon, killing 184 civilians and service members.
The fourth plane was also hijacked and was thought to be headed for the White House, but upon learning of the other attacks, passengers fought the terrorists and the plane crashed into a field in western Pennsylvania.
The terrorists who carried out these attacks were members of Al-Qaeda, the extremist group which is aligned with the powerful Taliban.
Since it has now been twenty years, there are adults today who were not even alive when this all happened. There are children who grew up without fathers or mothers…only photographs and memories. There are families who still have gaping holes in them from people who were taken that day. There are memorials and eyewitness accounts of unheard-of bravery that happened that day. There are untold stories of people who, in spite of their grief, put the world back together after all the destruction.
This is American History…the ugly and the good and everything in between. The ugly should be remembered and the good should be celebrated.
Nobody knows the future. There are still terrorists who want to do it all again but bigger. There is still evil in the world. But there is also still bravery. There is honor. There is unselfishness. There is love. These should be celebrated, so that when the ugly happens again, it won’t win.
So, remember September 11 this week. And if you don’t remember it, learn about it. But also remember Pearl Harbor. Remember Iwo Jima. Remember the Underground Railroad. Remember the Gettysburg Address. Remember the Alamo.
American history is packed full of ugly and good and everything in between. Never forget the ugly, but always celebrate the good.