Ten years ago, on a beautiful blue-sky morning in New York City, America lost its innocence. Nineteen men full of hate and disdain destroyed it, one plane at a time, in under 80 minutes. Nearly 3,000 victims who perished in the crashes at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field and their families paid the ultimate sacrifice. But all Americans awoke the next day full of fear and anger, their world view inescapably altered by Sept. 11, 2001.
Americans everywhere will remember the past, honor the dead and praise the heroes today on the 10th anniversary of 9/11. That day a decade ago left an indelible imprint on the nation as almost 3,000 people lost their lives after terrorist-hijacked airliners crashed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and outside Shanksville, Pa.This year’s commemorations will bear witness to a nation’s strength and resolve with the dedication of the National September 11 Memorial on the Twin Towers site and the Flight 93 National Memorial in Pennsylvania.Like the America’s Heroes Memorial at the Pentagon, which opened on Sept. 11, 2008, the two new monuments will become particularly special places for surviving families and friends, the heroes who rushed in to help on that fateful day, and those who labored for weeks and months at Ground Zero searching through the rubble. Americans share their remembrances and resiliency.
Dennis James Jr. was in middle school when the planes hit the Twin Towers. Ten years later, he was in Afghanistan, serving with the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division in Wardak province, one of the most dangerous places in a dangerous country.James, a former student at Pine Ridge High School in Deltona, was killed two weeks ago when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device. A little more than two years out of high school, he had earned many medals and decorations for his service in Afghanistan, including the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart.
This week, please also remember the other terrorist attack that killed Americans, struck panic on the Space Coast and mobilized thousands of emergency personnel in Florida.The anthrax attacks launched by mail on Sept. 17, 2001, represented the first major test of public health systems as part of our national security. A faster, stronger response in the future depends on your support.
As everywhere else in America, life abruptly changed in Gainesville on the morning of the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
Even as we watched televised images of unfolding events — the Twin Towers burning, the Pentagon struck, the scene of an airplane crash in western Pennsylvania — we knew that life in America would never be the same.
The high school classes of 2012 across Polk County and the nation were second-grade classes 10 years ago on the most deadly day of terrorism in the United States.
For most in this year’s graduating class — then 7 or 8 years old — 9/11 was the first major shock they experienced. Their simple-and-orderly world took on a bad-dream difference that day.
As the president and members of Congress focus on putting Americans back to work, they should be keenly aware that voters are fed up with political bickering. They’re unlikely to change their minds until they see actual proof of improvement in the economy.The president’s jobs program, as outlined in a speech to Congress Thursday night, contains no silver bullets. Even he didn’t characterize it that way. But it has a number of good ideas that can produce more jobs, both directly by giving employers incentives to hire and — perhaps more important — indirectly by reinvigorating consumer demand.
Osama bin Laden should have been killed or captured in the months immediately after 9/11 when he was fleeing from his Afghan mountain hideout into Pakistan, where he eventually found refuge in a Pakistani garrison town, holed up in a prison of his own making.But in a sense it was a good thing that he lived as long as he did. The United States and the other countries where his devotees plotted the slaughter of innocents have had their revenge. But it was not a revenge we could have imagined, even in the hot fury that followed the destruction of three iconic American buildings, four airliners and about 3,000 lives.
While some of us will be pausing to remember and reflect, and others may be trying to forget, still others may be looking to contribute in some way to a lasting memorial.We know of one in our backyard.This time of reflection may be the opportunity backers of the Freedom Memorial have needed to finish their difficult fundraising mission. Since being announced in 2006, the memorial — a centerpiece sculpture at Freedom Park on Golden Gate Parkway, just west of Goodlette-Frank Road — has raised $600,000 of its $2 million goal.
The first reports out of New York City mistakenly suggested a lone Cessna had clipped one of the World Trade Center towers. Then came the images that, 10 years later, no one can forget: smoke billowing from the North Tower; a commercial jetliner flying into and igniting the South Tower; men and women, some holding hands, leaping from the towers.
The west face of the Pentagon smoldering, in ruins, from the impact of a third hijacked jet; the World Trade Center towers, first the South, then the North, collapsing, then blanketing Manhattan with debris; a western Pennsylvania field containing the remains of a fourth hijacked jet, felled by heroic passengers before reaching its target in Washington.
Nearly 3,000 innocent men, women and children died on Sept. 11, 2001. Leaving behind those who loved them. And compelling the nation to finally treat terrorism as an existential threat.
“Sarasota became a historical footnote yesterday: the place where a U.S. president, looking out over a sea of smiling youth and promise, got the worst news that any American leader has ever had to hear.”
Those words are from the Herald-Tribune editorial of Sept. 12, 2001. It went to press about 15 hours after President Bush — who had been reading to children at Emma Booker Elementary School as the terror attacks on New York and Washington unfolded — left our city and headed into a changed future.
As we watched the terrible events of Sept. 11, 2001, unfold, the world we knew seemed to implode before us. Today, exactly a decade later, we can see with sharp clarity just how our lives have changed, and changed forever.
Before that morning, the most immediate predicaments our generation faced had emanated from a stained blue dress and a bunch of hanging chads. After all, our country was coming off a victory over the Soviet Union, which ended the Cold War in 1991, and then the longest period of peacetime prosperity in American history.
On the anniversary of what we now simply call 9/11, it’s easy to recall how we felt that day. For a special edition that hit the streets shortly after lunch, we offered our first thoughts:“Not since Pearl Harbor has the United States suffered such a devastating surprise attack as it did this morning.” And we shared our anger: “This nation has the power and the will to deal out overwhelming retribution.”What we couldn’t comprehend then is why any military group would think damaging New York City and Washington would be a victory for their cause. As it turned out, al-Qaida hoped to frighten the United States out of the Middle East or, if the United States fought back, to inspire a unifying Arab uprising. It badly underestimated the U.S. response.