On this faithful day in September 19 years ago, I was in middle school. I had just entered art class. The teacher, Mr. Slaughterback, came rushing into the room mid-morning wheeling in a television. He quickly plugged it in and turned it on, turning to the class asking us to quiet down and to pay attention to the TV.
8:46 am EST • Within moments we could tell something wasn’t right as the news commentator described the plane that had previously hit. Mohammed Atta and the other hijackers aboard American Airlines Flight 11 crash the plane into floors 93-99 of the North Tower of the World Trade Center, killing everyone on board and hundreds inside the building.
Within 5 minutes, a moment transpired that changed the world for everyone; the second plane appeared against the crisp blue New York City sky…
9:03 am EST • Hijackers crash United Airlines Flight 175 into floors 75-85 of the WTC’s South Tower, killing everyone on board and hundreds inside the building
“The attacks of September 11th were intended to break our spirit. Instead we have emerged stronger and more unified. We feel renewed devotion to the principles of political, economic and religious freedom, the rule of law and respect for human life. We are more determined than ever to live our lives in freedom.”RudyGiuliani
9:37 am • Hijackers aboard Flight 77 crash the plane into the western façade of the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., killing 59 aboard the plane and 125 military and civilian personnel inside the building.
“Time is passing. Yet, for the United States of America, there will be no forgetting September the 11th. We will remember every rescuer who died in honor. We will remember every family that lives in grief. We will remember the fire and ash, the last phone calls, the funerals of the children.”George W. Bush
11 am • Mayor Rudolph Giuliani calls for the evacuation of Lower Manhattan south of Canal Street, including more than 1 million residents, workers and tourists, as efforts continue throughout the afternoon to search for survivors at the WTC site.
6:58 pm • President Bush returns to the White House after stops at military bases in Louisiana and Nebraska.
8:30 pm • President Bush addresses the nation, calling the attacks “evil, despicable acts of terror” and declaring that America, its friends and allies would “stand together to win the war against terrorism.”
The terrible events of that day will live in our hearts and minds forever. The men and women that fought that day to protect the citizens will never be forgotten. The brave service members that died serving their fellow Americans will be forever engraved in our hearts and in stone in New York City’s memorial to the fallen.
The American spirit is what keeps us unified against the evils in this world. And, the American spirit grew bright in the aftermath of 9/11. We came together as Americans and became stronger and more focused than ever before. We reignited the patriotic fire. And, above all – we did not (and won’t ever) allow an event like September 11th define who we are. Instead, we rise up, rise above, and continue to be the unified people of the great United States of America.
“The lesson of 9/11 is that America is truly exceptional. We withstood the worst attack of our history, intended by our enemies to destroy us. Instead, it drew us closer and made us more united. Our love for freedom and one another has given us a strength that surprised even ourselves.”Rudy Giuliani
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