Remembering 9/11

I have struggled today with how to respond to the memory of September 11th 2001. It was a day that changed the course of our country. The first year or so was filled with mourning. So many lives lost in a single act of hatred, in the name of a religion. Innocents… fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends… We look at the number of people who died that day and maybe we see only the number, but do we see the people? These families experienced the horror of losing their loved ones in a senseless act of cowardice.

I have two daughters who will grow up with the events of 9/11 as history to them. They will read about it in a text-book, and I anticipate being asked questions. I remember that day very vividly. I remember where I was, what I was doing, my feelings, my fears, and my anger. But much has changed since those last days of 2001. America is back to things as usual. We set aside “Patriot Day” to remember those who were lost, those who fought, and to celebrate that we are still here.

So how do we celebrate Patriot Day?

Remember the Heroes and Victims

There were many heroes on that day, people who put the lives of those around them before their own. Of course we should remember the first responders who lost their lives. As everyone else was fleeing the towers, these brave men and women were working their way up to challenge the flames and save as many as they could. Many of their final days and hours are documented. We should remember those who gave their lives to save the victims. We should remember their families and their fellow first responders.

In the chaos of 9/11, average men and women put their own safety behind them and made sure others were out of harm’s way. They were people with no training or commitment to saving lives. Their world was falling around them, but they refused to cower to their circumstances. They sought to help others reach safety. We have many stories of survivors who only made it out of the towers because of someone who did not. Today, we should honor and remember those civilian heroes who made sure they were not the only people to exit the towers.

Two planes hit the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center and another plane hit the Pentagon. With the hit on the Pentagon, our assailants made known their intentions. This was a religious and political statement against the United States of America. Men and women who served our countries Department of Defense were targeted. We should never forget that our defenses were attacked on 9/11 as well as civilians.

As these three planes were being hijacked, a fourth plane was being seized by members of the attack. United 93 will forever be remembered for the passengers’ unwillingness to be used to kill others. Many on the plane knew of the other attacks, and news quickly spread of the hijackers’ intentions. No doubt the passengers hoped to gain control of the plane and land safely, but they knew the chance of success was low. The passengers could have cowered and waited on their fate, but they chose to storm the cockpit and save lives. In doing so, United 93 crashed in a Pennsylvanian field. It is believed the target was the capital. Those brave individuals saved lives, who knows how many would have died if United 93 had made it to its destination… Remember those who were unwilling to allow evil to accomplish their goals. Remember those who fought for the sanctity of life.

On 9/11 we should always remember the victims. We should remember the victims who never even knew their attackers. Many of them never knew what happened. As the planes hit the towers and the Pentagon at accelerated speeds, they basically disintegrated on impact, taking whole floors of the towers with them. Many died instantly. Many others died in the flames or suffocated, trapped in adjacent floors. Even lives on the ground around the towers were not safe. As debris began to fall, lives were at risk around the towers. We must remember our heroes, but do not forget the victims.

Remember Our Unity

Shortly after the attacks, our government’s legislative bodies met on the front steps of the Capital Building to show their united effort to keep America going. It was a moment where all American’s were relieved to see party politics swept to the side. We needed united leadership for the days ahead. American’s all over the country rallied behind the effort to secure our skies, protect our country, and find who was responsible.

Those who attacked New York City that day sought to divide and destroy us. They sought to create fear in our lives. They wanted us to cower as every September 11th came each year after their attack. They do not want us to become unified, and they do not want us to become stronger. That is what 9/11 should represent each year.

I believe that as we remember those heroes and victims of 9/11 we should remember that we are Americans. Not leftist or conservatives, not republicans nor democrats. Today should not be about being in the spot-light. It should be a day to remind us that we are all Americans. That it doesn’t matter your race, or religion, your politics, or your profession. Today we celebrate the lives that were lived before 9/11, we remember the magnitude of loss that our country experienced on 9/11, and today we should stand united against those who would see us destroyed.

Related Post: Why Does God Allow Evil?


About Mitchell Norton
My life was changed when God saw fit to forgive me of my rebellion against him. I am not worthy of a righteous God, and I am thankful that he reached out to me. My walk with the Lord has lead me to understand that loving others is just as important as loving God. I am a husband to a beautiful wife, father to an adorable daughter (and one on the way!), and servent of the Gospel. I am not perfect, but one day I will be. "Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord and has made the Lord his hope and confidence." - Jeremiah 17:7

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