At the time there were only a handful of staff in the newsroom of the Times-News, and we were glued to the TV, talking about this horrible accident and how difficult it would be to put the fire out that high up.
Eighteen minutes later, United Airlines Flight 175 was flown into the south tower. One of our reporters asked in a shaky voice, “What is happening?” An editor replied, “We’re at war.”
As with Pearl Harbor, D-Day, the moon landing, the Challenger Disaster and other momentous events, 9/11 remains forever etched in the memories of those across the world who watched the events unfold. A half-hour after the second plane hit the towers, United Flight 77 crashed into the west side of the Pentagon and a fourth plane, United 93, dove into a field in Pennsylvania.
Then both World Trade Center towers collapsed into a terrifying and deadly inferno of rubble.
Eighteen years later, American forces still die in Afghanistan and the Middle East where we continue to fight fundamentalist terrorists who would again given the slightest opportunity — inflict great harm on our nation. It’s the price of peace, and our commitment to pay it should not waver.
That’s the primary lesson of 9/11.
Another is that we should live every day to its fullest because life could be lost at any moment.
Though evil will always be with us as it always has been, the world is a beautiful, wonderful place filled with people of peace and good will. While we need to be forever vigilant, we should be thankful for what we have and the time we are given.
Two thousand, nine hundred and seventy-seven people died and 6,000 were injured on 9/11. Since that fateful day, U.S. military deaths in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan have totaled just under 7,000.
Today, please take a moment to remember and pray for the victims of 9/11, for the women and men in uniform who have sacrificed their lives since, and for those who continue the fight so we can continue to enjoy the freedoms that make America beautifully unique.