Guest Column by State Sen. Jean Leising
“Today, our fellow citizens, our way of life, our very freedom came under attack in a series of deliberate and deadly terrorist acts. The victims were in airplanes, or in their offices; secretaries, businessmen and women, military and federal workers; moms and dads, friends and neighbors. Thousands of lives were suddenly ended by evil, despicable acts of terror. This is a day all Americans from every walk of life unite in resolve for justice and peace. America has stood down enemies before and we will do so this time. None of us will ever forget this day. Yet we go forward to defend freedom and all that is good and just in our world.”
President George W. Bush, Sept. 11, 2001
If you asked someone where they were at 8:46 a.m. 10 months ago, 10 weeks ago or even 10 days ago, chances are, they’d have trouble remembering.
But, what if you ask,“Where were you the morning of Sept. 11, 2001?” The answer may be troubling, but likely etched in their memory for a lifetime.
Ten years ago, at 8:46 a.m. on Sept. 11, 2001, a plane crashed into the World Trade Center in New York City. Soon, another followed. Then a third crashed into the Pentagon while a fourth hijacked plane never made it to its intended target — believed to be the White House — because it was overrun by courageous passengers who were determined to stop terrorism, even if it meant sacrificing their own lives. That plane crashed in a field near Shanksville, Penn., at 10 a.m.
In all, more than 3,000 people died and 6,000 were injured that day, at the hands of terrorists. The overwhelming majority were civilians — people just like you and me — someone’s sister, brother, mom or dad, husband or wife, best friend or neighbor.
Worldwide, people stopped whatever they were doing and were glued to a television or a radio. Like the bombing of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941; the assassination of John F. Kennedy on Nov. 22, 1963; and the Challenger explosion on Jan. 28, 1986; the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks stand out as one of those moments when nearly everyone alive at the time remembers where they were, who they were with and how they heard the news.