Remembering 9/11

By: 
Chuck Kajer, The New Prague Times

Just like this year, it was a beautiful, sunny September Tuesday morning on September 11, 2001. People were going about their business, schools were in session and life was peaceful.

Then everything changed.

Shortly after 8 a.m. Central Time, an airplane crashed into one of the World Trade Center towers in New York City. People across the country were watching on television while announcers were speculating on how this could have happened. Then, minutes later, a second plane crashed into the other tower. Two more highjacked planes crashed, one into the Pentagon in Washington, DC, and another in a farm field in Pennsylvania, where passengers thwarted an attempt to crash it into another DC target.

Foreign terrorists had attacked the United States.

In the days after these attacks, the nation united. People from across the country did what they could, volunteering, sending donations and supporting victims and rescue workers. Firefighters from across the country travelled to New York to help in the recovery efforts. There were big displays of patriotism. Most memorable here in New Prague was the local Boy Scouts carrying a large American Flag down Main Street during the Dozinky parade, just five days after the attacks, and people standing solemnly for the flag.

In the weeks that followed, life returned to normal, but it was a “new normal.” After air travel was suspended in the days following the attack, new safeguards were put in place at airports and on passenger flights, public buildings that were potential terrorist targets added security and people were more cautious and less afraid to “say something” if they saw something out of place.

Now, 17 years since those attacks, so many of the changes are taken for granted. The schools are filled with students who have no direct memory of the attacks, and how they changed American society - most of this year’s high school seniors were infants - and some were not even born - when the attacks occurred.

In light of that, it’s important that we recall one of the slogans that came out of the 9/11 attacks - “Never Forget.” While Americans can disagree on many things, we need to remember the sense of unity that came out of the 9/11 attacks. We can, and should, unite when it comes to remembering those who died, and those who helped the nation recover from this tragic event.

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