Today we remember those lost in the 9/11 attacks 20 years ago. Not many events can change the entire course of a country in a few hours. 9/11 did that among other things.
Every American who was at adult on 9/11/2001 remembers where they were when they heard about the attacks. I was on an airplane waiting to take off.
Yes, I had a business trip to a health system in New Jersey and had already boarded my first leg to Phoenix. Thanks to the time difference I wasn’t in the air already although it was still quite early on the West Coast.
After boarding the pilot announced we were on a short ground delay. I think that was after the towers were struck. People on the plane started getting calls from family and friends and the news quickly spread amongst the plane. Then the news about the pentagon came out and we knew something terrible was happening.
The pilot came back and asked us to debark and take our things. He didn’t know if we were going to take off at all but it was going to be a while. As we got off and started watching the television in the waiting area, we knew no flights were going to happen today. I took the shuttle back to my car and drove to work crying while listening to the news.
Fortunately, my plane was not already in the air as flights in progress just landed at the nearest airports and people were stranded for days. I had a coworker that was stranded 3 days before flying home in a nearly empty plane across country.
That day changed America forever. We didn’t have the TSA, Department of Homeland Security or the Patriots Act. Not all good, not all bad but definitely different.
Twenty years later, we are suspicious of left bags in public places, going through detectors at major events, federal buildings and airports and not allowed to take beverages through security. Americans lost our sense of security that oceans had given us by separating us physically from enemies.
And we were out for revenge to those that did this to us. This entered the US into a 20 year war that thankfully ended recently. As with most wars, it ended messily and not without controversy but we’re out of there. I’m glad we got the mastermind behind the attack but the war went on too long after he was killed.
We should never forget the losses of 9/11 or stop supporting the ground zero survivors. Too many families lost someone on 9/11 or in the war to follow. A lot to think about today.