The deadliest day in US history - fifteen years ago. Four passenger airplanes, bound for California, were hijacked by 19 terrorists, with two of them crashed into the Word Trade Center in New York City, one into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, and the fourth crashed into the ground in Stonycreek Township, Pennsylvania, when the passengers onboard overtook the hijackers. Nearly 3,000 perished with another 6,000 injured.
Each year at all three sites, there have been memorials. Permanent structures have also been erected at those locations, and others, as perpetual memories of that horrible day, fifteen years ago. We have used film, television, music, art, and literature to tell and retell the story of that day: September 11, 2001. Indeed simply saying September 11, immediately brings up thoughts of that hate-filled atrocity.
Yesterday at The Pentagon, President Barack Obama told the crowd "Fifteen years may seem like a long time, but for the families who lost a piece of their heart that day, I imagine it can seem like just yesterday." Later in his speech he said "The question before us, as always, is: How do we preserve the legacy of those we lost? How do we live up to their example? And how do we keep their spirit alive in our own hearts?"
Some good questions Mr President. How many of us really remember though? Do you actually recall the moment you first heard about the planes crashing into the World Trade Center? Do you remember how you spent that day and the ones that followed? Do you recall fear or a sense of uneasiness? Of the first responders, do we think of them and all they did that day? Right now, fifteen years later, I would like to not only reflect on what happened, but what it brought about, and I'd like to answer the President's questions. I think particularly of the passengers who fought back and caused the fourth plane to come down in a field. "How do we live up to their example?"