Today marks the 16th anniversary of September 11, 2001, the tragic day when New York was attacked by terrorists and our lives were changed forever.
You may have seen the movies. You may have visited the museum. You may have even visited ground zero in early years after the terrorist attack on the twin towers, but nothing prepares you for what happened on that tragic day 16 years ago. Standing on the streets on New York, watching the planes crash into the tower, the Pentagon, both towers collapse and the people in a state of such shock and panic it was terrifying. Let’s not forget the heroic act of all the passengers on board of flights American 11, United 175, American 77 and United 93. A total of almost 3000 lives lost in a matter of a couple of hours. The firefighters, police, emergency services and all those who pitched in to help. This terrifying feeling has been with us for the last 16 years and will remain with us for the rest of our lives.
Information emerging every year about that horrific day and all the chaos surrounding the attack. NBC news reports on the number of communication problems experienced on that day. The complete chaos from our leaders and government officials and total disregard for protocol. Even President Bush did not follow the plan. “We had the president who didn’t want to follow our plans for a nuclear attack, which is hide him, keep him safe and allow continuity of government,” says Air Force One pilot Mark Tillman, a now retired Air Force Colonel who wrote his own book about that day, reports NBC. As a country, we were unprepared, but will it be any different now, 16 years later. Can New Yorkers feel safe and secure since the protocols have been updated and officials briefed on the changes? This is something to think about. I believe New York will never be the same again.
Today, victims’ families and loved ones will gather at the resting place of their beloved family members lost on that unforgettable day. Today, we as a country will mourn the lives lost. Listening to the stories of survival, names of all the victims being called and the pictures being held by family members making it a yearly reminder of what we went through and where we are today. An official commemoration will take place today at ground zero as it does every year since the attack.
In preparation for September 11th, 16th anniversary, the entire week was dedicated to displaying how people are paying their respect to the victims and families of 9/11. A school in Brooklyn made a special visual display, laying out 3000 flags for each life lost. People are traveling from all over the world to be here on this day with families who will once again feel the terrible loss of their loved ones.
Ending the week with a bit of good news; a bill was passed, giving permission to the families of all victims lost on September 11th, 2001, to sue Saudi Arabia. The bill was passed even though the white house was against the vote.
It has taken 16 long years, but New York, and I’m proud to say, has finally made a comeback and we are stronger than before. Police Commissioner Bill Bratton is calling New York an “Economical Engine”, a start to something more. Since rebuilding the lower part of Manhattan, more jobs have been created. We have an increase in tourism and that equals more revenue for our city to keep rebuilding.
The Freedom Tower is our daily reminder that we survived that tragic day and we will continue to fight for our freedom and for our country.
By: Ida L.