4 days ago, 09/11/2014 at 4:44pm
Many of us have spent some time reflecting on 9/11 this week. Both the events of that terrible day and all that has happened since.
Prior to that day, most Americans could not conceive of our country being attacked. If we thought of it at all, we envisioned a military attack and what country would be so foolish to attack the U.S. military on U.S. soil? Ridiculous!
Then on September 11, 2001 terrorists attacked the United States by hijacking four commercial airliners. They flew one into the World Trade Center (WTC) North Tower, another into the South Tower, both of which would eventually collapse. The third airliner was flown into the Pentagon and the fourth went down in a field in Pennsylvania, on its way to an unknown target.
While stunned Americans tried to make sense of the attack, the death toll mounted. In total 2977 from over 90 countries died in the attacks. Over 1100 of them have never had any remains identified, that’s how devastating the attacks were. More died from illness brought on by the toxic environment endured by those who searched for survivors and victims.
Our world was rocked when it wasn’t our military that was attacked, it was us – civilians – doing nothing more than flying to see family or going to work in Manhattan or just taking an elevator to the top of the World Trade Center for the spectacular view. Regular people going about their lives. Why would any of them fear that they would be attacked on a sunny weekday morning?
Just as some Americans were absorbing the shock of the attack that morning, the two skyscrapers collapsed. The blows that morning came one right after another, with little time to mentally process what we were all watching on TV. And we were all glued to our televisions that day and for many days afterward, hungry for news, explanations, answers.
While 3,000 is a huge number of casualties, it could have been so much worse. There were over 17,000 people in the World Trade Center that day. The fact that more did not die is amazing.