A day to remember

September 11, 2001 is a day that is seared in the nation’s memory. On this day 17 years ago, the worst terrorist attack in world history was carried out by 19 muslim terrorists at the behest of al Qaida. They hijacked four jetliners in a coordinated effort. Two were flown into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York. A third was crashed into the Pentagon. A fourth was crashed into a Pennsylvania farm field after heroic passengers decided to battle back against the terrorists, to thwart their plans even at the risk of their own lives.

All told, 2,996 people were killed and more than 6,000 others injured. The immediate deaths included 265 on the four planes, 2,606 in the World Trade Center and in the surrounding area, and 125 at the Pentagon.

The horror of that day can never be forgotten by those who witnessed the attacks, who watched on TV as the Twin Towers burned and then collapsed, as people jumped to their deaths from the upper floors to escape the flames.

The attack changed us in America, made us more wary and united us for a time as seldom before. It sent us into Afghanistan to rout out al Quaida and the Taliban that harbored them. It embroiled us in a war that continues to this day in the Persian Gulf.

But it did not defeat us. We continue as a nation that is still strong, still a world leader, still dedicated to being a beacon to those who love freedom and justice.

Let us pause today to remember the victims and their families, and to resolve that no enemy will ever strike at us like that again.