Once again we commemorate September 11, 2001, the day terrorists crashed two hijacked commercial airliners into the twin towers of the
Center in . As we watched these 110-story buildings
collapse, we learned that a third airliner had taken a dive into the New York City Pentagon Building,
the headquarters of the United States Department of Defense located in . This structure suffered a massive fire and
the collapse of one side of the five-sided building. We learned that a fourth airliner had crashed
into a field in western Arlington, Virginia . There was some thought that this airplane was
intended for the White House or Pennsylvania but was brought
down by an uprising among the passengers. Capitol
September 11, 2001, - known as 9/11 - changed the world forever and became another date that will live in infamy. Just as the Japanese attack on
Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, this attack on our own
soil by terrorists galvanized and unified Americans against those who seek to
destroy our nation.
"On Tuesday, Sept. 11, 1001, the world changed forever. The
the world's only superpower, sustained a devastating attack on its own soil by
a foreign enemy whose agents had infiltrated American society. The ferocity and scale of the attack shook
most American's sense of security and awakened them to the threat of deadly
terrorist violence. The enemy was not a
rival nation, as had been the case in wars of the 20th century, but a shadowy,
multinational movement whose members were highly motivated and technologically
sophisticated. The members of this enemy
movement claimed to be fighting the United States in defense of their
religion, Islam, in a great struggle between good and evil. United States
"Shortly before 9:00 a.m. in
New York City that September morning, American Airlines
Flight 11, a Boeing 767, slammed into the north tower of the World Trade Center in . Less
than 20 minutes later, United Airlines Flight 175, also a Boeing 767, crashed
into the south tower. Both planes had
been hijacked after taking off from New
York City Boston's . Less than two hours later, the twin
skyscrapers collapsed into a massive, smoldering pile of rubble. Logan International
"The dramatic attack on the twin towers in the financial heart of the
was only the beginning of the nightmare.
At approximately 9:40 a.m., a hijacked American Airlines Boeing 757 out
of United States Dulles International
Airport in Herndon,
Virginia, plowed into the Pentagon Building,
the headquarters of the U.S. Department of Defense, just outside A fourth plane, United Airlines Flight 93, a
Boeing 757 scheduled to fly from Washington, D.C. Newark, New Jersey, to San Francisco,
was taken over by hijackers and redirected toward Officials with the Federal Bureau of
Investigation (FBI) later speculated that the hijackers intended to crash the
plane into the White House or Capitol.
However, at about 10:00 a.m., the plane went down in a field in Washington, D.C. . Passengers on board, after learning of the
other suicide hijackings from cellular telephone calls, apparently overpowered
the hijackers and forced the plane to crash." (See R. Scott Appleby, World Book Encyclopedia 2002 Year Book,  pp. 38-39.) Pennsylvania
Investigators later concluded the 19 hijackers were from
Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and other Arabic countries
and were part of an organization known as Al-Qaeda and led by Osama bin
Laden. Thousands of people were killed
that September morning with estimates of approximately 3,000 - more people than
died in the attack on Algeria Pearl Harbor. These victims included 300 firefighters, 189
people in the Pentagon, and 44 in . Pennsylvania
There were many heroes that awful day. The names of Todd Beamer, Jeremy Glick, Tom Burnett, Mark Bingham, Lou Nacke, rich Guadagno, CeeCee Ross-Lyles, Sandy Bradshaw, Elizabeth Wainio, Laura Grandcolas, Joseph Delus, Linda Gronland, Don Greene and Andrew Garcia will always be on the list of heroes of that day. They were passengers on United Flight 93 and made the deliberate decision to take control of the aircraft; they were determined to save the lives of other people even if it meant the loss of their own lives. We honor the First Responders who rushed into the
to help others and
lost their own lives or suffered from health problems from the experience. Others heroes were on the scenes, those who
preserve and protect our lives, our homes and our freedoms everyday: policemen, firemen, military personnel, FBI,
CIA, etc. Twin
The events of 9/11 affected all of us differently. When I heard that one airplane had hit the
I thought it was a private plane out of control; when I heard about the second
aircraft, I knew that our country was being attacked - even before I knew that
airliners were involved. When I learned
that all airliners were grounded, I was concerned about my daughter-in-law who
was scheduled to take a red-eye flight from World
Trade Center Anchorage,
Alaska, to . I was greatly relieved that she was on a
direct flight rather than stopping in Salt Lake City, Utah
as ticketed and had arrived home safely. Seattle
Just as I remember where I was and what I was doing when I learned of the assassination of John F. Kennedy and the attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan, I will remember the way our world was turned up-side-down by a group of extreme Islamic terrorists on 9/11. I remember the horror I felt when the authorities thought another hijacked airliner was headed for our city. I remember that offices buildings, etc. were emptied in downtown
Anchorage before the
aircraft was diverted to an airport in . I remember the immediate need I felt to fly
flag and only later realized that I was only one of millions of Americans who
had this same reaction to the horror of the day. I remember the eerie silence when only
military planes were flying and the isolation I felt as I drove around United States Lake Hood,
the largest float plane base in .
Last year our nation marked the tenth anniversary of 9/11 with speeches and musical performances. A ceremony was held
at Ground Zero to dedicate a memorial to 9/11. This memorial consists of two beautiful granite reflecting pools that were built in the footprints of the original twin towers. Bronze panels inscribed with the names of the people who died at Ground Zero on September 11, 2001, surround the pools. Another memorial was dedicated at the Pentagon previous to this dedication.
Whether or not people agree with the politics of President Bush, no one can deny that he is always a class act, and he did not disappoint us when he spoke at the dedication of a memorial in Pennsylvaniaon September 10, 2011.
"When the sun rose in the
sky ten years ago tomorrow, it was a peaceful September morning. By the time it set nearly 3,000 people were
gone, the most lives lost on American soil in a single day since the battle of Pennsylvania Antietam….
"One of the lessons of 9/11 is that evil is real, and so is courage….
"For generations people will study the flight, the story of Flight 93. They will learn that individual choices make a difference, that love and sacrifice can triumph over evil and hate, and that what happened above this
among the most courageous acts in American history. Pennsylvania
"The memorial we dedicate today will ensure our nation always remembers those lost here on 9/11. But we have a duty beyond memory. We have a duty beyond honoring. We have a duty to live our lives in a way that upholds the ideals for which the men and women gave their lives, to build a living memorial to their courage and sacrifice. We have a duty to find common purpose as a nation….
"Secondly, we have a duty to remain engaged in the world as 9/11 proved that the conditions in the country on the other side of the world can have an impact on our own streets. It may be tempting to think it doesn't matter what happens to a villager in
or a child in Africa, but the temptation of
isolation is deadly wrong….
"Finally, we each have a duty to serve a cause larger than ourselves. The passengers aboard Flight 93 set an example that inspires us all. Many have followed their path of service by donating blood or mentoring a child or volunteering in desperate corners of the earth. Some have devoted their careers to analyzing intelligence or protecting our borders and securing our skies. Others have made the noble choice to defend our nation in battle….
Many years ago, in 1863, another President came to dedicate a memorial site in this state. He told his audience that, `In a larger sense we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. For the brave souls who struggled there, consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract.' He added, `the world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.'"
In an effort to keep our memories of that day alive, I encourage you to click on other links for pictures of the events of 9/11 and beautiful music. One of the first songs to appear after 9/11 was one performed by Alan Jackson who recorded "Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning." You can find it here or here.
News anchor Tom Brokaw, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and the Orchestra at
Square joined together to produce a special
"Music and the Spoken Word" for the event entitled "Rising Above".
Americans must remember the attacks of 9/11 as well as the unity of our nation that day. We must remember how we felt on September 12, 2001. We must remember the time we were truly united as Americans. We must remember 9/11 just as other generations remembered significant events in their times and rallied to the cause of liberty. During the Spanish American War, the cry was "Remember the
Alamo!" In World War II, the cry became
"Remember Pearl Harbor!" Today
our cry must be "Remember 9/11!"