Fourteen years ago, September 11, 2001, was to become an iconic date in American history, along with December 7, 1941 and November 22, 1963. It was a day of unspeakable evil and unfathomable courage and heroism.
Almost 3,000 people were killed in the attacks, including 345 firefighters and 72 police.
Heroes aboard one of the hijacked planes, United Flight 93, forced their plane down rather than destroying an east coast target, killing all aboard.
The day would result in the creation of the Homeland Security Department and the Transportation Security Administration, spark a U.S. war in Afghanistan to overthrow the Taliban (supporters of al-Qaeda), launch a search for bin Laden, and lead to a global war on terrorism. New York City has built One World Trade Center at the site of the disaster, and 9/11 has been etched in the American memory.
It’s hard not to be struck by the similar responses of the passengers of United 93 and of the American soldiers and their friends when they confronted and disabled a terrorist on a train from Amsterdam to Paris on August 21 of this year. One soldier said to his friend, “Let’s go.” And go they did.
As we remember 9/11, we honor the victims and stand in awe of the courage of the first responders – the fire fighters and police, who risk their lives daily to keep us safe. We hold in utter respect the young men and women in uniform who flew to parts unknown to combat an enemy with a vicious disregard for life.
And we should also hope that when faced with threats from evil-doers, we can say, like Todd Beamer of United Flight 93, “Let’s roll.”