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September 10, 2018
It’s hard to believe that tomorrow marks 17 years since the day that shook America – and the world – to its core: September 11, 2001. As we become further distanced time-wise from that awful day, the memories may still be fresh for some and receding for others. Yet, the reality of what happened that day has certainly become part of our collective consciousness as a country.
According to the 9/11 Memorial & Museum:
On the morning of September 11, 2001, 19 terrorists hijacked four commercial airplanes, deliberately crashing two of the planes into the upper floors of the North and South towers of the World Trade Center complex and a third plane into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. The Twin Towers ultimately collapsed because of the damage sustained from the impacts and the resulting fires. After learning about the other attacks, passengers on the fourth hijacked plane, Flight 93, fought back, and the plane was crashed into an empty field in western Pennsylvania about 20 minutes by air from Washington, D.C.
The attacks killed nearly 3,000 people from 93 nations. 2,753 people were killed in New York, 184 people were killed at the Pentagon, and 40 people were killed on Flight 93.
Despite the losses, we can take comfort in knowing that in the worst of times, the best of humanity was also visible. We know that more than 2,000 NYPD and Port Authority police officers secured the area, searched the Towers, and rescued survivors. Of these, more than 400 perished. We also know that the brave actions of the passengers aboard Flight 93 prevented the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania from reaching Washington, D.C. and the White House, most certainly averting further loss of life.
And in the wake of tragedy, we saw our country come together to honor the 2,977 lives lost. In 2002, soon after the devastating attacks on America, a group of 9/11 family members and friends started a grassroots movement with the goal of “taking back the day” and “transforming 9/11 from a day of tragedy into a day of doing good.” After several years of efforts to create a fitting national tradition, the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act established September 11 as a National Day of Service and Remembrance in April 2009.
Annually organized through a collaboration with The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) and other leading national and regional nonprofits, “9/11 Day” is the nation’s largest day of charitable engagement. This year, it’s expected that more than 30 million Americans will observe 9/11 Day through personal expressions of peace, unity, and service, according to the organization 9/11 Tomorrow Together. Many will mark the day by volunteering, supporting charities of their own choosing, performing good deeds that help others, and going out of their way to be kind and considerate to others – all as an enduring and forward-looking tribute to the 9/11 victims and their families, first responders, recovery workers, military, and others who rose in service in response to the attacks. You can look for opportunities to serve during this year’s 9/11 Day by going to the CNCS
project locator tool.
Tomorrow, on what is always a somber day of remembrance, we can also take the time to remember what helps us transcend the worst of circumstances: hope, bravery, courage, faith, and ultimately love and service for each other.
www.911day.org and www.nationalservice.gov
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