I’m sitting in the same place I was Nineteen years ago. The desk, chair, even the TV I’m watching are different than the ones I was using that day. I don’t remember what I had on TV, if anything, but I saw a post on line by someone on some forum about a plane crash into one of the World Trade Center towers in New York City.
I turned the channel to Fox News and there was an image of the top floors of one of the towers burning furiously. The commentators were trying to figure out what had happened. A wayward small plane? A wayward military jet? That had happened to the Empire State Building shortly after the end of World War 2.
As I, and millions of other people watched, we got our answer. A commercial jetliner slammed into the other tower. That was no accident, it was an act of terrorism, and act of war. The nation watched dumbfounded as the towers burned and the ultimately collapsed. I was on the phone with my partner from work and we both estimated that around 10,000 people had been killed in when those buildings when they fell.
Fortunately, we were wrong. Due to the valiant, and all too often fatal, efforts of police officers, fire fighters, EMTs, paramedics, and others thousands of people who otherwise would have died were evacuated in time.
The FAA had already ordered every airplane flying over the US to land immediately at the nearest airport. While that was happening we had no idea how many passenger liners had been turned into cruise missiles and by whom.
Then, another plane flew into the Pentagon. Then another crashed into the ground in Somerset County, PA. Passengers on that plane fought with the terrorists and thwarted their plan to crash into the U.S. Capitol Building. Their actions cost them their lives, but saved the lives of hundreds, maybe thousands more.
The US has changed drastically since then. We’ve been in what can be considered a persistent state of war. Then President G.W. Bush warned us that it would be a long time before we won, but we would win. I have to say that we are finally winning, but we have not yet won.
It all seems like a long time ago and maybe it was. One thing I do know is that we should never forget what happened that day and what has happened since. A lot of people who were at the scene or rushed to the scene to try and help have also died. The toxins in the air have caused cancers, respiratory illnesses, cardiac illnesses, digestive tract illnesses, and other ailments. Many have died from those illnesses, and many more will. They too were victims of the attacks, especially in New York City.
The long dead terrorists are still killing people. The war is still not over.
For my kids, this is history that they lived through. For my grand kids this is something that they will ask their parents about and hopefully learn about in school. Many people would rather we forget this attack on our nation and its people, but hopefully we won’t.