September 11, 2015


We remember: September 11, 2001. The beautiful clear morning, the crisp fall air. New York, Washington, and Shanksville. The perfectly blue skies. At 8:51am, it was 68F at Central park, 72F at La Guardia, 73F at JFK and Newark Airports.

We remember: American Airlines Flight 11, from Boston to LA, carrying 76 passengers, 11 crewmen, and 5 hijackers. The words of the hijackers, "Nobody move please, we are going back to the airport ... don't try to make any stupid moves." The words of the flight attendant, "I see the water. I see the buildings. I see buildings... Oh, my God!" The time, 8:46:21am. Destination, the North Tower. 

We remember: United Airlines Flight 175, from Boston to LA, carrying 51 passengers, 9 crewmen, and 5 hijackers. The stabbing of Daniel Lewin, believed to be the first fatality. The message left by Brian Sweeny, a US Air Force pilot at 8:59am to his wife, "If things don't go well, and it's not looking good, I want you to know I absolutely love you." The time, 9:03:11am. Destination, the South Tower.

We remember: American Airlines flight 77, from Washington to LA, carrying 53 passengers, 6 crewmen, and 5 hijackers. The 3 minute struggle for control inside the plane. The western side of the Pentagon. Time, 9:37:46am.

We remember: United Airlines Flight 93, from Newark to San Francisco, carrying 33 passengers, 7 crewmen, and 4 hijackers. The heroic efforts of the passengers and crewmen. The 6 minute revolt of the passengers. The failed attempt bought with the lives of 40 heroes. The struggle that didn't stop until the end. The words, "In the cockpit! If we don't, we'll die." And the response of the hijackers, "Is that it? Shall we put it down?" "Yes, pull it down."

We remember: the mothers, father, sisters, brothers, husbands, wives, cousins, aunts, uncles, and friends who perished on that day. 2,973 lives lost. Countless hearts broken. The 90+ countries who lost citizens.

We remember: The deadliest day in history for NYC firefighters. The heroes who perished that day. 344 firefighters. 61 police. 55 military personnel. 11 paramedics.

We remember: the 4 who were added to the casualty list in the following 9 years.

But that's not all.

WE REMMBER: America. The country who was brought to its knees, but rose up ready to fight. The outpouring of love that flowed through this great nation. The grief that didn't pull it apart, but drew it together. The cross that stood out among the rubble. The lives changed by others' sacrifices. The pain that made it stronger. The victims as well as the survivors. The blood spilled and the blood saved. Tears for those lost and tears for those reunited.

WE REMEMBER: the words of our president. "Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundations of America. These acts shatter steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve."

WE REMEMBER: where we were that day and we pray we never see another day like it. But we remember. We cannot help but remember. May we never forget.

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