On September 11, 2001, 19 militants associated with the Islamic extremist group al Qaeda hijacked four airplanes and carried out suicide attacks against targets in the United States. Two of the planes were flown into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, a third plane hit the Pentagon just outside Washington, D.C., and the fourth plane crashed in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Almost 3,000 people were killed during the 9/11 terrorist attacks, which triggered major U.S. initiatives to combat terrorism and defined the presidency of George W. Bush.
Eighteen years have passed since our nation watched in horror as the events of that fateful morning unfurled. A younger generation, either too young to understand what happened that day or born afterward can never truly understand what it felt like to stare in horror at a TV screen when the realization dawned that our nation was under attack. How it felt to have our hearts fall as we watched the courageous first responders rush into stricken buildings only to see those buildings collapse a short time later. How we felt as we mourned together and commended the heroes of Flight 93. And for those that were at ground zero, running for their lives, or running to save lives their experience eclipses all the rest.
How do we explain to those that weren’t here what it felt like in the days after, when one of the 20 precious souls that were found alive were plucked from the rubble of the twin towers. How we prayed as a nation for more survivors to be found and how it felt to see yet another victim pulled out instead.
How do we explain how it felt on September 12, when the whole nation and most of the world mourned with us. When politics was set aside for a day. When thousands volunteered to help search for survivors pouring in from all over the country. How everyone was a little nicer, even though we were still in shock and wondering if more attacks were coming. How so many signed up to join the military that in some places there were lines to get to recruiters offices. And lines to donate blood, because everyone hoped and prayed for survivors to be found.
The only way we can explain is to share our memories of what it felt like to each of us that remembers that day. Taking our children or grandchildren to hear the stories of that day first hand from survivors or first responders, or by sharing documentaries. While they can never fully grasp what it feels like for us to remember, we must continue to share it with them so that the memory of what happened that day is kept alive.
After all, we promised we would never forget.
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Contributed by Sean Walton of The Daily Sheeple.