Two decades ago, the morning sun dawned clear and bright over New York City, unaware of the vile and evil atrocities that would soon transpire. As Americans awoke and began their day, none could have suspected the unspeakable events of September 11, 2001, that instantly transformed our nation and forever changed the world.
As cowardly terrorists hijacked aircraft and slammed them into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and into the ground in a rural Pennsylvania field, an innocence or naivety we once held as a nation was lost forever.
The certainty of events was there for all of us to see as thousands of men, women and children were killed and wounded during the attacks on America: The motive and truth behind the deeds of the terrorists made it clear that America and freedom-loving people everywhere have enemies. Those enemies aren’t guided by religious belief but by bigotry and intolerance, they fear the very thing we draw inspiration from - freedom!
The attacks of 9/11 did not weaken us as intended. They were but a test and only served to strengthen our resolve. The smoking rubble of the twin towers of the World Trade Center has been removed, the scarred and scorched field in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, has been healed by time and nature, and the wrecked halls of the Pentagon, have been repaired and rebuilt.
We may have been frightened by the terrorist attacks on 9/11, but America didn’t surrender or succumb to fear. Our nation drew upon the same values that have carried American ideals from century to century, from one generation to another; goodness will prevail over the forces of evil; and that freedom will continue to light the path into the future for freedom-loving people across the globe.
Over the past 20 years, America has lived up to its responsibilities to ensure that does not happen. This responsibility has brought with it a fresh reminder that freedom can’t ever be considered a gift … it’s never free.
For generations to come, Americans will look back to 9/11 and remember their responsibilities to preserving liberty and maintaining America’s ideals and in doing so will – just as we are doing – honor the memory and the deeds of September 11th.