Eleven years ago, on a Tuesday morning just like this, thousands of people got up, prepared for a day that was not expected to be anything out of the ordinary, and left for their jobs or travel. They said goodbye to their families without any sense of the finality of that act. They went to work in New York City and Washington DC, or boarded planes for the West Coast, and never came home.
What unfolded was a day of horror and disbelief, leavened with tales of heartbreaking courage. Hundreds of firefighters and police in New York City charged the gates of Hell to rescue people trapped in the World Trade Center and ended up sharing their fate. One planeful of passengers, forearmed with the knowledge of their captors’ plans, fought the first battle in the war against al-Qaeda and defeated them at Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
Eleven years later, and again on a Tuesday, I expect the original Patriot Day to feel more distant. Instead, the scenes remain as fresh in my mind as ever. This composite of news coverage of the attack on the south tower of the World Trade Center recalls all of the emotions of the early morning:
A year ago this month, I had a rare opportunity to visit New York City and the WTC plaza. The main site of the worst attack on US soil in centuries has been transformed into a memorial, one that provides a sense of peace that replaced the horror that preceded it. I created a short video to capture the sense of the memorial, and the linked post has a few still pictures as well:
Eleven years later, all of these flood into my mind, and I pray for the victims of 9/11, the heroes of 9/11 who gave their lives and those who are still with us, our nation, and our world. I never pray to forget.