September 11—A day that will stand in infamy forever. This was the day that everything changed.
As the first reports came out, the world froze in utter disbelief. Americans stood wide-eyed, afraid, stunned. Many called friends and family in New York to see if they were okay. Others consoled those who were uncertain of the fate of their loved ones.
Then reports of a second plane flooded the airwaves. It was then that we all knew; this was no accident. An entire nation collectively shuttered at the possibility of what we already knew. The United States of America, the land of the free, home of the brave, and a beacon of hope to the whole world, was under attack from an invisible and cowardly enemy.
As the first tower fell, so did the hope of onlookers. Your stomach in knots as you watched the building disintegrate into dust. When the news channels began to report that the Pentagon had been hit, remember the panic you felt? That feeling of “who will be next?” constantly in the back of your mind. Remember the weakness and vulnerability you felt as the second tower fell and then witnessing people come face to face with their own mortality? How could this be possible?
After the long day began to wind down and the night sky appeared, you heard the President utter those words:
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
The suspense and sadness built with each word spoken.
Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America. These acts shatter steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve.
The tears that had been shed by all that day began again, as the reality of what happened, and what was to come, started taking hold of us.
This is a day when all Americans from every walk of life unite in our 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.
Today, we honor those who died in this senseless act. We cannot forget what happened, and we will not forget. This is also a day to remember our active military and veterans. Without them, we would likely not be here today.