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Sunday marks the 10th anniversary of the most devastating terrorist attack on American soil in modern times. Countless ceremonies, gatherings and events will take place around the U.S. and world to honor approximately 3,000 people who lost their lives on September 11, 2001.
On Sunday, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and other city officials, will dedicate the newly built 9/11 Memorial at the site where the World Trade Center (WTC) towers once stood, according to American City & Country. “We had to design a memorial that would stand the test of time — and design the space that our city would need to grow and prosper,” Bloomberg said Tuesday at breakfast in Lower Manhattan sponsored by the Association for a Better New York. “I believe that history will record that we accomplished both.”
Bloomberg’s words are evidence of the perseverance that U.S. leaders and citizens have demonstrated in the years which followed the deadly events of 9/11.
On September 11, 2001, at 8:46 a.m., a hijacked American Airlines (AA) Flight 11 crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center. A mere 17 minutes later, at 9:03 a.m., hijacked United Airlines (UA) Flight 175 crashed into the South Tower of the WTC. At 9:37 a.m., hijacked AA Flight 77 flew into the west wall of the Pentagon. At 10 a.m., the hijacked UA Flight 93 crashed into a field in Shaksville, Pennsylvania. The passengers and crew attempted to retake control of the plane which was believed to be traveling toward the White House.
According to The District of Columbia Website, a candlelight service will take place at the First Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. to honor the lives lost in the plane crash at the Pentagon.
President Obama and Vice President Biden will visit the crash site in Shaksville Sunday. Biden will later attend the dedication in New York. Obama will attend ceremonies in D.C., according to the New York Daily News.
Many will take a moment Sunday to remember the servicemen and servicewomen who lost their lives while responding to the terrorist attacks.
Police and firefighters in New York, and all around the U.S., are expected to observe a national Moment of Remembrance of the 9/11 attacks by sounding their police and firefighters sirens and bells, according to the Jackson County Times-Journal. At precisely 1 p.m EDT, bells will sound for a minute. Frank Lautenberg, U.S. Senator of New Jersey, encouraged the public to participate. “’This Moment of Remembrance’” will be a symbol of solidarity throughout the county and across the country. We must never forget what happened on that tragic day,” Lautenberg said.
Other individuals are sharing their perspectives and memories of 9/11 through a quieter, solitary activity – writing.
In post on the Foundry website, a Conservative policy news blog from the Heritage Foundation, Jessica Zuckerman reflects on how the events of 9/11 shaped the world for many young Americans. “I was barely a teenager on 9/11, but these memories will stay with me forever,” Zuckerman said. “For many in my generation, the events of September 11, 2001 shattered our naiveté and changed our perspective of the world. Coming of age in the War on Terror, we were defined by it.” Zuckerman said that after 9/11 her dreams of becoming a doctor or a teacher were replaced with an interest in the hot topic of homeland security and counterterrorism.
In an opinion piece written for the Washington Times, Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, of San Deigo, expressed outrage that the memorial for Flight 93, in Pennsylvania, has not been completed due to a lack of funding. “Flight 93 is an afterthought in the narrative of 9/11 and it shouldn’t be,” Falkenthal said.
Linda Paul, a guest columist for OregonLive, recalls her experience being inside the Pentagon when the airplane struck the building. “When the plane struck us, there was a single loud boom, more like a solid but muffled thud and the office shuddered, identical to the shudder of an earthquake,” Paul said. “I looked back to see the giant black cloud of smoke hovering over the building. I thought, ‘They’re killing us with our own damn airplanes.’ I may have said this aloud.”
Storytelling is a tool that many organizations are encouraging people to use in an effort to unite Americans and to honor the lives lost on 9/11.
The Washington Informer is inviting people to submit their stories of 9/11 along with photos to be added to the “Informer’s 9/11 Anniversary section.” One person who contributed to the Informer said, “That evening, I did nothing but watch television news and read the special edition of the Post. I knew that America would never be the same from then on.”
According to the Huffington Post, even the cooking community has come together to share their 9/11 experiences. The Food Republic interviewed 8 New York Chefs about that horrific morning. “I remember while walking over the [Queensboro] Bridge, this one somber moment when someone, who clearly was from Ground Zero, covered in white dust, with a blank stare, was walking on the bridge,” said Bryan Voltaggio, chef at VOLT restaurant.
Similarly, StoryCorps, a nonprofit organization, “whose mission is to provide Americans…with the opportunity to record, share, and preserve the stories of our lives,” dedicated space on their website for the oral telling of 9/11 stories. StoryCorps hopes to record one story for every life lost on 9/11.
“It was Christine’s first trip in an airplane,” Lee Hanson said during his recording for StoryCorp. He and his wife, Eunice Hanson, lost three family members on 9/11 – they were passengers on UA Flight 175.
According to Kirsti A. Dyer MD, a fellow of the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress, our stories can strengthen us. “Storytelling can be regarded as one of the oldest healing arts; it has been used for centuries as a universal, useful way for the grieving person to cope with loss” Dyer said. “Telling the story can provide the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of one’s experiences.”
Codi Schneider, a 7 year-old at the time of 9/11, remembers the towers crumbling on TV and his father predicting the Air Force would send him to war soon, the Associated Press said. Codi’s father, an Air Force Chief Master, served in Iraq and was responsible for disarming enemy booby traps. Now a teenager, Codi said the years since 9/11 have been full of nightmares. He often wakes up screaming in the middle of the night.
According to the AP, Codi said he doesn’t want to be in the Air Force like his father. He wants to be a filmmaker or maybe a journalist when he grows up. “Whatever I do when I’m older,” Codi said “I want to tell people my story.”
While ceremonies to remember 9/11 will be the focus of Sunday for many Americans, the U.S. Homeland Security Department will be on alert in light of recent terrorist threats.
Image courtesy: http://www.flickr.com/photos/usnationalarchives/6120234023/