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Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

A Day To Remember

Christopher Coppock |
September 11, 2013 | 11:43 a.m. PDT

Executive Producer

(Neon Tommy/Benjamin Dunn)
(Neon Tommy/Benjamin Dunn)
September 11th, 2001. Like it or not, this day will define our generation. Twelve years ago today the United States was attacked by Al-Qaeda backed terrorists desperate to inflict lasting damage upon our nation. In destroying the World Trade Center, leaving a smoldering, aircraft sized hole in the Pentagon, and coming closer than many will care to remember to striking the Capitol, the attack shocked America into action. Not since Pearl Harbor has the United States been the recipient of such a ruthless assault. 

Immediately following that fateful day, President Bush ordered the military to find Al-Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden and bring them to justice. Within weeks Green Berets and Army Rangers were deep in the mountains of Afghanistan, fighting and dying in an effort seek out and destroy Taliban bases. Only a year and a half after 9/11, the United States led a large coalition of nations into Iraq in what was described then as an effort to remove Saddam Hussein from power and gain control of his alleged stockpile of WMDs in order to prevent another attack on American soil. Over the ensuing years American defense spending rose, American approval around the world dropped, and the American public became increasingly unhappy as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan dragged on. 

This day, however, is not about those events. This day is about the memory of the people that died twelve years ago in New York City, Arlington, and Stonycreek. This day is about remembering those people across the country whose lives were changed in a split second. Watching on TV, America saw the second plane slam into the South Tower, heard the shock and fear in the news anchor's voices, and wondered what was happening. At the time, although our country could not begin to fathom the repercussions of the events of that day, it was abundantly clear that 9/11 was a day, much like pearl harbor, that will live in infamy. 

Today, President Obama took a break from the debate over Syria to lay a wreath at the site of the September 11th attacks. In a statement following the wreath laying the President said: "Let us have the strength to face the threats that endure, different though they may be from 12 years ago, so that as long as there are those who would strike our citizens, we will stand vigilant and defend our nation." His remarks were made in front of the 9/11 memorial, a fitting monument to the horrible events of that day. Two vertical shafts, with water cascading down the near vertical walls lie in the exact spot where the two towers once stood, drawing visitors in and providing a depository for their memories that will last long into the future. 

While the United States of America is not defined by specific events, people's lives certainly can be. Although nearly 3,000 people died on 9/11, many millions more had their lives and futures inexorably changed on that ghastly day, and 9/11 will continue to define people's lives for the remainder of the 21st century. 


Reach Executive Producer Christopher Coppock here:



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