Never Forget How 9/11 Changed the World Forever
By Neil A. Carousso
“Never Forget” is not just a catchy phrase or a popular hashtag, but it is a way Americans, particularly New Yorkers and those personally affected with the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, cope with the daily reminder of the world we live in 15 years in the aftermath of the worst attack on United States soil.
We will never forget the 2,997 people who were killed on that clear Tuesday morning – 2,753 of whom died at the World Trade Center in New York City – 343 firefighters and paramedics, 23 New York Police Department officers, 37 Port Authority police officers, 1,402 employees in Tower One and 614 employees in Tower Two.
We will never forget the 189 people who died at The Pentagon between the 64 people on board Flight 77 and the 125 Pentagon personnel.
We will never forget the 44 brave men and women on board Flight 93 who voted on a plan to fight the four al-Qaeda hijackers in what President George W. Bush described as the “first counter offensive of the war on terror.” As they called their loved ones, the passengers on Flight 93 made it their mission to prevent the further loss of life, trying to gain control of the plane and ultimately crashing into a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. It is believed the terrorists planned on targeting the White House or the Capitol Building.
Every 9/11 is a sobering reminder that we are a target to those who oppose American culture, freedom and sovereignty. New Yorkers, under the leadership of Mayor Rudy Giuliani, slowly recovered, as Giuliani urged city residents to try to get back to work and to their daily routines. But, there was a vacancy in the heart and soul of the city and country, the smell of Ground Zero unescapable and the fog of war looming in front of Lady Liberty.
Eventually, we got back to some sense of normalcy here at home. Our NYPD and FDNY heroes played a large role in cleaning up Ground Zero and aiding the community in recovery and President Bush visited the recovery site 3 days after the attacks, against the recommendation of his Secret Service and top aides, famously putting his arm around retired New York firefighter Bob Beckwith as he bellowed into a bullhorn: “I can hear you! The rest of the world hears you…and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon.” That statement spoke volumes as Bush became a wartime president 9 months into his presidency. Baseball Hall of Fame catcher Mike Piazza hit a mammoth two-run home run at Shea Stadium in the first game back in the Big Apple on September 21, 2001 to not only lift the New York Mets to a 3-2 victory over the Atlanta Braves, but also lift the hearts of New Yorkers and “give them something to cheer about,” as Mets broadcaster Howie Rose famously said on the telecast.
While most Americans have returned to a sense of normalcy, there are 1,609 people who lost spouses in the terrorist attacks and an estimated 3,051 children who will never see one of their parents again; 20 percent of Americans knew someone who was killed on 9/11. Those families are still fighting for answers, many of whom hoping for President Barack Obama, despite a veto threat, to sign legislation to allow families to file law suits against Saudi Arabia, which may have been involved in the attacks. The bill was passed unanimously by both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate. We must not let the terrorists ruin our American way of life, so we must work to protect our freedoms and sovereignty every day.
There have been 37 terrorist attacks on U.S. soil since 9/11, despite increased security across the country and at our airports. The second largest terrorist attack in America occurred at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida on June 12. There is an increased radical Islamic terrorist threat from terrorists, including ISIS, whose goal is to impose their ideology in our country and cause severe damage and terror. ISIS has claimed responsibility for attacks in Europe, infiltrating the refugee and immigrant populations, and have influenced attacks here in the United States. We are the main target.
Therefore, we must never forget 9/11, we must never become complacent in security and we must respect and thank our heroes – the police and firefighters who were the first responders and protected us 15 years ago and each and every day as well as the brave men and women who have served and continue to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces. We must fight to secure our freedoms, symbolized by the beautiful Freedom Tower and the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in Lower Manhattan and guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution against a radical Islamic terrorist threat and any terrorism threat to our country.
May God Bless America.