Friday, September 11, 2009

9-11-01: Never Forget

Eight years ago today, September 11, 2001, 19 terrorists hijacked four jumbo jets, each with specific targets in mind. At 8:46am (EDT), one slammed into the North Tower of New York's World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan, followed by another hitting the South Tower less than 30 minutes thereafter. Hours later, both buildings collapsed. Over 2,700 persons were killed in the buildings, on the planes, or on the ground, ranging in age from babies to seniors.

A half hour later, a third jetliner crashed into the Pentagon in Arlington, VA, killing nearly 200 more persons at work in the world's largest office building or on the plane. Only the actions of the heroic passengers of United Flight #93 prevented a fourth building from being attacked, as passengers wrestled control of the plane from the terrorists and crashed it to the ground near Shanksville, PA, killing 40. The reported target of that plane was the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC.

It is easy to forget the attacks as time goes on. It is human nature to try to pick up the pieces and move on and try to forget. We were all attacked on that late-summer day eight years ago. The terrorists wanted to shake our very way of life, but the aims of those attacks failed. Americans did what Americans do, and that's to brush off the dust and get back to work.

Baseball played a large part in the healing process. After a suspension of games which lasted a week, baseball got underway on September 18 and was highlighted by a great poem delivered by the ailing Jack Buck. The Mets returned to Shea Stadium on September 21 for the first game played in New York City since the attacks, and Mike Piazza's homer sparked a comeback victory. George W. Bush's perfect strike in throwing out the first pitch of the 2001 World Series in New York was symbolic of a city and a nation on its way back.

America was wounded that day. We were changed forever. Our resolve as a nation was tested but not destroyed. Now, we must remember that day and never forget the sacrifices of the police and firefighters, the passengers on Flight 93, the military and civilian workers at the Pentagon, and so many others.

Never forget the 3,000 lives which were extinguished that morning.

God Bless America.

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