Remembering September 11th

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Has is really been eighteen years? I was a young newspaper editor that terrible day. I’ll never forget how blue the sky was as I drove to work, shaken by the news coming in from New York, Washington, DC and rural Pennsylvania. How could something so terrible happen on such a beautiful day?

These places seemed so far away and yet the losses hit close to home.

All these years later, it’s still hard to process the devastation. It’s still hard to imagine so many souls lost in a single building. It’s hard to imagine having the courage to crash a plane in a field rather than wait for terrorists to reach their intended destination.

I visited the site at Shanksville, PA again last fall to see the beautiful park dedicated to the forty passengers and crew aboard Flight 93. I wrote about that experience last year. You can read it here. 

Eighteen years ago, we said we would never forget. But with each passing year, we find ourselves moving further and further from the memory. Today there is a generation of young people who were too young in 2001 to remember these events and those who weren’t even born.

The people aboard Flight 93 understood what was happening to them. They called their loved ones, said their prayers and chose to attack their attackers, crashing their plane into a field and narrowly missing a village and a school.

Out of tragedy came heroism and, as long as we remember their bravery, their sacrifices are not in vain. If you have kids who don’t know this story, I hope you’ll tell them about it. Tell them about Flight 93 and tell them about the brave first responders who ran toward danger while everyone else was running for safety. Tell them about the people who went about their lives that morning, not realizing it would be their last.

There are thousands of stories of ordinary people who died unnecessarily and who did extraordinary things for strangers. Whether you can visit one of the memorials or simply read about them online, learn their stories and remember them.

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