2017-09-08 / Viewpoint

Remember the events of a deadly day in September – 16 years ago


For many of us, the despicable events of Sept. 11, 2001, are burned in our memories.

Living in Washington state, I flipped on the television as I prepared to go to work.

I was shocked as I saw the first of the towers smoking and burning and then watched as the second tower was hit by another airliner.

I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was surreal. I hate that term, but it was surreal. The fact that it was a coordinated terrorist hijacking of commercial airliners and their subsequent devastating crashes didn’t even enter my mind.

Then, incredibly, another airliner crashes into the Pentagon. A place where I had friends working. It was like being hit with a baseball bat.

Those cowardly attacks seem like they happened yesterday, however, it was 16 years ago; an event that sparked a global response on terrorism that continues to this day.

To say that 9-11 was a wake-up call, is an understatement. It was, in many respects a day that made us see the intricate networks of terrorism that are working against us and other democratic nations in the world. It wasn’t something that occurred in a far-away national or in Europe. It happened in New York, Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania.

It was a day that has been compared to the attack on Pearl Harbor that sparked the United States entry into World War II. A comparison that is not unwarranted as they both proved we are not beyond the grasp of enemies. And a comparison that shows we are able to rise and meet terrorist challenges both domestic and foreign.

The 9-11 attacks inflicted damage and instilled fear among us. That was fleeting. Now we are aware. Now we are prepared and taking precautions.

We rallied and returned to business as normal, but with an edge. We haven’t bent or bowed to the terrorists. We are resilient and mindful that nearly 3,000 innocent human beings were killed that day.

Since then, we have, by and large, gone back to business as usual. Americans are, in some ways audacious and the nation has resolved to remain unbowed by terrorism. There is now a Memorial Tower and a museum where the World Trade Center towers were. These buildings stand as testaments to our resolve and resilience.

On this 16th anniversary of that fateful day, we remember where we were when we first heard the unnerving news, but it is imperative that we not forget the nearly 3,000 innocent people who were killed in those horrific attacks.

Sure, there will be appropriate events in New York, Washington, Pennsylvania and other places that will get plenty of news coverage. Those events, as they should, will respect the sacrifices made on that day 16 years ago.

On Fort Gordon, two events will mark the 16th anniversary of 9/11.

This weekend, the Cyber Noncommissioned Officer Academy will sponsor a 48-hour, 191-mile ruck march commemorating the fallen of 9/11. The march will end at 8 a.m. on Monday, near the Signal Towers. A ceremony at Signal Towers will follow at 8:30 a.m.

Please take some time to remember the events that took place on Sept. 11, 2001. Remember the fallen and those who were heroes that day. Remember that it was an attack on all of us and on our way of life. And remember that we are strong and resilient.

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