Column: Remembering 9/11 Eighteen Years Later
Most Americans vividly remember the morning of September 11, 2001, like it was yesterday. With the memory of that day still raw for so many, and the impacts of it that continue to change the world, it is hard to believe that already we now have an entire generation of Americans who had not yet been born when the attacks occurred. Eighteen years ago, our nation watched in horror as radical terrorists attacked us on our own soil, killing thousands of innocent people and forever changing the course of history. As we reflect on the tragic memories of September 11th, we should also be mindful of the tremendous heroism displayed by so many in the days and years following the attacks.
On the morning of September 11, 2001, parents pulled their children from school, every single commercial flight across the country was grounded, and the entire nation stood in shock, fearful of our safety and unsure of what the future would look like. Thousands of heroic first responders rushed to the scenes of devastation without concern for their personal safety hoping to save lives.
The very next morning, in one of the most patriotic displays in America’s 243-year history, hundreds of thousands of American men and women flocked to military recruitment centers to volunteer for service against a new and formidable enemy, and millions of us joined together in a spirit of unity and pride across the nation in support of one another after one of the worst days in our nation’s history. In the nearly two decades since, servicemembers have answered the call of duty and deployed to countries that harbor terrorists. The military has largely allowed for the rest of us to continue living our lives without the fear of another terror attack here at home like we saw on 9/11. Military personnel and federal, state and local law enforcement agencies have all worked tirelessly to prevent terror groups from staging another large-scale attack in the United States, something each of us is thankful for.
We must, however, not lose sight of the toll that the aftermath of the 9/11 terror attacks has had on military families. This year alone, we lost two servicemen from Colorado’s Third Congressional District, Marine Gunnery Sgt. Scott a Koppenhafer of Mancos, and Army Sgt. 1st Class Will D. Lindsay of Cortez in the Global War on Terror. We are forever in debt tor these two young men and their fallen and wounded brothers and sisters who gave so much to defend us all. Our prayers remain with their families as they continue to heal.
This week we are also reminded of our country’s resiliency by the great work that continues to be done on behalf of veterans returning from war. This week coincides with the 100th anniversary of Congress chartering the American Legion. Over the years, the American Legion has grown to one of the nation’s most recognizable veteran’s advocacy groups and community service organizations providing ample opportunities for youth and military families to become more active in their communities. I applaud their many years of service and dedication to support veterans and spreading the values that make this country great.
On this anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks, we should all take a moment to remember the fallen, thank the heroes who sacrificed their lives to save others, and show our most sincere appreciation for the men and women who chose to serve and who continue to serve. May God continue to bless you and your families, and may God bless the United States.