Good evening. Today, our fellow citizens, our way of life, our very freedom came under attack in a series of deliberate and deadly terrorist acts. The victims were in airplanes, or in their offices; secretaries, businessmen and women, military and federal workers; moms and dads, friends and neighbors. Thousands of lives were suddenly ended by evil, despicable acts of terror.
The pictures of airplanes flying into buildings, fires burning, huge structures collapsing, have filled us with disbelief, terrible sadness, and a quiet, unyielding anger. These acts of mass murder were intended to frighten our nation into chaos and retreat. But they have failed; our country is strong…
Words that ring out oh-to-familiar to most of us as we read them. It seems as if it were just yesterday that we watched our leader, President George W. Bush, address us as a nation with those very words.
For my parents’ generation it was the Kennedy assassination; for my generation it was the terrorist attacks on 9/11. A point in our crucial years of development that we find ourselves questioning—“Why?” and “What happened?” A time that will always be remembered for the uniting of a nation brought about by some of the darkest behaviors known by mankind.
It was a day that will never be forgotten. A day in which most all can remember exactly where they were at and what they were doing when they heard of the news. When they witnessed the towers—filled with business men and women, police and fire officials, brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers—plummet to the grounds in a matter of seconds. Our teary eyes and dropped mouth demonstrated the sorrow and shock we couldn’t speak. We watched as image after image depicted the attacks on multiple buildings within the lands of our nation. Would there be more? Was this just the beginning? Had some brave and courageous souls not stepped up on United Flight 93, who knows how many more hundreds or thousands of lives might have been lost that day? The heroes aboard that flight sacrificed their lives for others—along with hundreds of others who entered the burning twin towers in efforts to save as many people from within as possible.
A great and strong nation we often pride ourselves as—but 9/11 reminded us that we are not invincible. As much as one nation may want to believe they are in the majority power and control across the world, they must remember that they can not change others. Even when a force so dominate and powerful exists, an Achilles heel can still be found.
On a day with such lose and darkness, heroes still emerged. On a day that was ignited by acts of terrorists, uniting among strangers prevailed. On a day when confusion ran high, clarity of the means for security began.
Though it only took minutes for the skies to be clouded with dust, it took hours upon hours for the smoke to clear and the wound to be processed…
Though today as a nation we may still fall short of serving justice to those responsible for the horrendous acts committed that day—at the same time we stand stronger as a country that has embraced our spirit once again as a community willing to stand forth for our freedom and beliefs. Though many innocent lives were lost that day, we stand firm in our promise to honor those lost by continuing to remember what they, as well as ourselves, believe in as citizens of this great nation.
Today the United States mourns the great loss we had five years ago. Might each life lost that day represent a presence of love that we, remembering today, might carry forth in our lives to come—showing gratitude and love toward those with whom we encounter.
I want to end by taking a moment to relive the events of that tragic day. Below you’ll find the timeline of the attacks. I encourage my readers to join me in moments of silence at the times in which the planes became weapons of mass destruction. I have highlighted the times the four planes “hit.”
8:46 AM Plane crashes into the north tower of the World Trade Center.
9:03 AM Plane crashes into the south tower of the World Trade Center.
9:17 AM The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) shuts down all New York City area airports.
9:21 AM The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) halts all flights at U.S. airports. It is the first time in history that air traffic has been halted nationwide.
9:38 AM Plane crashes into the Pentagon. Evacuation begins immediately.
9:45 AM The White House evacuates.
10:05 AM The south tower of the World Trade Center collapses.
10:10 AM A portion of the Pentagon collapses.
10:10 AM Plane crashes in Somerset County, Pennsylvania.
10:22 AM The State and Justice Departments, as well as the World Bank are evacuated.
10:28 AM The World Trade Center's north tower collapses.
10:45 AM All federal office buildings in Washington, D.C. are evacuated.
1:44 PM Five warships and two aircraft carriers are ordered to leave the U.S. Naval Station in Norfolk, Virginia to protect the East Coast.
4:10 PM Building 7 of the World Trade Center collapses.
[The above timeline was taken from this website.]