Our view: 12 years later, we remember
It's hard to believe today marks 12 years since our country and our way of life were savagely attacked. It was Sept. 11, 2001.
Many of us might have awoken this morning without thinking of that day, either caught up in the middle of a busy workweek or fixated on what might happen in Syria. There's no fault in that - our lives are busy and plenty of things transpire each day; no fault as long as we finally remember and take time, sometime today, to remember and reflect.
Our world has changed so much since 9/11 that 12 years of living with the realities of this new world might make it hard to recognize the fact. So as the names of the fallen are read by relatives and loved ones at Ground Zero this morning, recounting some of the horrible and heroic accounts from that day might serve to remind us of those dark days in the fall of September 2011:
• More than 3,000 people were killed during the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks, including more than 400 first responders. Many were trapped and died when the towers collapsed.
• The heroics of United Flight 93 must never be forgotten. Learning of the previous two hijackings, passengers like Thomas Burnett Jr. acted to prevent another target from being hit. They rushed the cockpit, causing the plane to crash in a field in western Pennsylvania.
"I know we're all going to die," Burnett said to his wife over his cell phone. "There's three of us who are going to do something about it. I love you, honey."
All 45 on board perished.
• The conflicts that followed — Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom — also changed the lives of families. According to the Associated Press, 4,485 U.S. casualties have been confirmed by the Department of Defense in the Iraq War, while 2,265 were reported in Afghanistan. These sacrifices must also not be forgotten.
Remembrances of 9/11 often start with the premise of "Where were you when it happened," but it might be all the more powerful to put ourselves in the shoes of the victims and loved ones.
It's a gut-wrenching exercise: students left for school that morning; husbands and wives kissed each other goodbye after finishing breakfast like any other day; and passengers boarded planes wondering how they might pass the time.
It started like a normal day, like most days do. The fragility of life evident in that fact means that we must not ever brush aside what we have, and most importantly, to never forget 9/11.
This opinion was authored by editorial management of Tri-County Newspapers. Send replies and letters to firstname.lastname@example.org.