The morning of September 11, 2001 will forever be remembered by a generation of Americans as their defining moment. Just as earlier generations remembered where they were when JFK was assassinated, or when Pearl Harbor was attacked, my generation will remember where we were on the day that al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked four passenger airliners and crashed, two planes into the World Trade Center, one into the Pentagon, and one into a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, killing 2,977 people.
I am from the West Coast, and I must admit, the attacks didn’t directly involve or affect me the way that it did my countrymen in Manhattan, or in the nation’s capital. But without experiencing the horror firsthand, I sympathized with those who did. My heart was with them, and my prayers were for them– as it was with all Americans.
Like the Japanese had done decades earlier, al-Qaeda had stirred the hornet’s nest and awoken, not a ‘sleeping giant,’ but the spirit of American patriotism.
My generation will remember the attacks of September 11, 2001 as the event that sparked what will be more than thirteen years of war. Millions of Americans would enlist in the United States Military, serve and deploy in support of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Participation in these wars changed millions of American families forever.
Many people don’t associate the sacrifices, wounds and losses in war to the events of that day, thirteen years ago. But America is the way that it is today because of the events of September 11, 2001.
I would like to use the USS New York (LPD-21) as an example of the change. The USS New York was named for the city that was targeted by al-Qaeda, and was intentionally built using steel salvaged from the World Trade Center, destroyed in the attacks.
The USS New York represents American resiliency and courage to rebuild. Using the destroyed remnants of the World Trade Center, once a crowning achievement of American greatness, the USS New York now rules the seas, as part of the “World’s Finest Navy” and is currently on her second deployment to the Persian Gulf.
Starting in 2002, each September 11th is to be observed as Patriot Day. While not a federal holiday, Patriot Day, by presidential decree, calls for the American flag to be flown at half-staff. The holiday also calls for a moment of silence to be observed at 8:46 EDT to correspond with the time that the first plane struck the World Trade Center.
Military Connection would like to encourage all Americans to further observe Patriot Day by wearing patriot attire, and by sharing with your friends, family and co-workers the story of where you were on the morning of September 11, 2001 and how it has affected your life today.
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Military Connection: Sept. 11 is Patriot Day: By Joe Silva