Where Were You When The Towers Fell

by Charlotte Purdy

September 11, 2001. Nineteen years have passed since the tragic events that took place on that day. A day that Americans will never forget. A day filled with sadness, anger, worry, and determination to pick up the pieces after the attacks were over.

New York City, Washington, DC, and Pennsylvania were all attacked on that dark day. Every news station on the television interrupted their regularly scheduled programs to bring the breaking news to their viewers. I will never forget where I was when it came across the television.

It was 8:59 a.m. and I was folding laundry in the living room, watching my normal morning tv shows and suddenly, the news came on and the Twin Towers were burning. Terror had taken over the streets of NYC and within what seemed like only seconds yet hours, a second plane crashed into the South tower of the World Trade Center. It was one of the most horrific things I have ever watched on television.

My heart aches as I write this. I vividly remember it. The city was quickly taken over by a massive cloud of dust and you could hear people screaming and crying from what seemed like every inch of the areas shown on the newscast. I remember making phone calls to see if others were watching the same thing. “Are you seeing this on the tv? Is this real?!” while crying heavily. Word traveled quickly and the entire country came to a halt. Family members tried desperately to contact their loved ones to see if they were ok but getting through was near impossible! For some, it was days before their call would go through.

To think that there were terrorists who wanted to do harm to the members of our great Nation sickened me to my core. Those people had families. Children. Spouses. Pets. They were simply at work performing their normal routines of making phone calls, checking emails, scheduling meetings, and looking forward to the end of the day.

A total of 2,977 U.S. citizens, including 2,135 civilians, and 372 non-U.S. citizens died that day and more than 6,000 were injured, making it the most devastating attack on the United States since the attack on Pearl Harbor. Yes. Pearl Harbor. The tragic event we all learned about in our History classes where 2,403 lost their lives.

Of those who lost their lives during the 9/11 attacks, 343 were firefighters, 72 were law enforcement officers, and 55 were military personnel. The men and women who put their lives on the line to ensure that we, the citizens of the United States, are safe and out of harm’s way lost their lives that day. 2,977 deaths, 6,000 injuries… All the result of hatred.

Since that day, September 11, 2001 has been recognized as Patriot Day in memory of those who were killed during the attacks. Each year on 9/11, the flag of the United States is flown at half-mast at the White House and on all U.S. government buildings throughout the world.

Today, I ask that you take a moment of silence beginning at 8:46 a.m. on Friday, September 11, 2020 to correspond with the first attack on the North Tower of the World Trade Center. Take a moment to remember those who lost their lives, and those who risked their lives, on that tragic day. A day that we will NEVER FORGET.

I want to leave you with this. One of the most inspiring quotes I have heard in a long time and one that I will always remember. “If we learn nothing else from this tragedy, we learn that life is short and there is no time for hate.” – Sandy Dahl, wife of Flight 93 pilot Jason Dahl.