September 11, 2011 04:51 AM
Today is the 10th anniversary of a national tragedy. It is a solemn occasion and a day of remembrance for those who needlessly died.
Like most Americans, I remember that day vividly. I remember the disbelief and the anger. I also remember that, despite the horrible, senseless actions of that Tuesday morning, some of America’s best traits came on display in the hours, days and weeks that followed.
The selflessness of the many first responders who arrived at scenes of destruction in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Shanksville, Pa., cannot be overstated. The firefighters, police officers and paramedics who dashed into the burning World Trade Center buildings, the Pentagon and to the site of the United Airlines Flight 93 crash in Shanksville risked, and in some cases gave, their lives to rescue others. While so many were trying to escape the destruction, those first responders ran towards it.
No better example of bravery exists that day than of the actions of United Airlines Flight 93 passengers. After realizing their plane would be used to destroy the White House or the U.S. Capitol, those 33 brave men and women took it upon themselves to stop the further destruction and loss of life. Phone calls made to loved ones before their revolt make it clear they knew their actions were dangerous, yet they still fought back. Their actions prevented a tragedy from becoming a catastrophe. We owe them our sincerest gratitude.
Finally, the charity that took place during that time is moving. Thousands of volunteers from across the country left their jobs to help with the rescue and recovery at the World Trade Center, endangering their health in the process. At the same time, it seemed as if the entire country took up the cause to give blood, organize charity drives and donate money to victims and their orphans.
Ten years have passed and life has moved on. While we will never forget that day, it’s even more important to remember the many good Americans we’ve lost – from those who died on Sept. 11, 2001, to those brave military men and women since then who were lost or injured protecting our freedoms. We’ll be flying the American flag at half-staff today and this week in their honor.
William S. DeArment
President & CEO