Why we remember 9/11

Today is the 18th year that we are commemorating the 9/11 terrorist attacks on our nation.

Some high school kids studying the terrorist attacks in history and government classes today were not even born when the tragedy occurred.

In the blink of an eye, the tragedy that impacted all Americans that day is now 18 years removed, and it is important that young Americans know it is still important that we take time to remember, so that we might better prepare and deter any future terrorist attacks here.

The Sept. 11, 2001 morning attacks (referred to as 9/11) were a series of four coordinated terrorist attacks by the Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda against the United States.

The attacks killed 2,996 people, injured more than 6,000 others, and caused at least $10 billion in infrastructure and property damage.

Additional people died of 9/11-related cancer and respiratory diseases in the months and years following the attacks.

Four passenger airliners operated by two major U.S. passenger air carriers (United Airlines and American Airlines - all of which departed from airports in the northeastern United States bound for San Francisco and Los Angele - were hijacked by 19 al-Qaeda terrorists.

Two of the planes, American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175, were crashed into the North and South towers, respectively, of the World Trade Center complex in Lower Manhattan.

Within an hour and 42 minutes, both 110-story towers collapsed. Debris and the resulting fires caused a partial or complete collapse of all other buildings in the World Trade Center complex, as well as significant damage to 10 other large surrounding structures.

A third plane, American Airlines Flight 77, was crashed into the Pentagon (the headquarters of the U.S. Department of Defense) in Arlington County, Va., which led to a partial collapse of the building’s west side. 

The fourth plane, United Airlines Flight 93, was initially flown toward Washington, D.C., but crashed into a field in Stonycreek Township near Shanksville, Penn. after its passengers thwarted the hijackers. 

9/11 is the single deadliest terrorist attack in human history and the single deadliest incident for firefighters and law enforcement officers in the history of the United States, with 343 and 72 killed, respectively.

Suspicion quickly fell on al-Qaeda. The United States responded by launching the War on Terror and invading Afghanistan to depose the Taliban, which had failed to comply with U.S. demands to extradite Osama bin Laden and expel al-Qaeda from Afghanistan.

Many countries, including the U.S., strengthened their anti-terrorism legislation and expanded the powers of law enforcement and intelligence agencies to prevent terrorist attacks. 

Although Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda’s leader, initially denied any involvement, in 2004 he claimed responsibility for the attacks.

As a consequence of the attacks, the U.S. has been in a state of national emergency ever since 2001 and probably will be forever. The expectations that Americans had for a safe living environment, that were enjoyed prior to 9/11, were diminished that day, too.

And some of the political conflicts that Congress has today regarding southern border security are also the result of 9/11, in my view.  

The Holton Recorder

109 W. Fourth St.
Holton, KS 66436
Phone: 785-364-3141

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