Fourteen years. It has been 14 years since the world as we once knew it dramatically changed.
The day was September 11, 2001, a normal morning in the Tri-State area. It was actually a beautiful day, there was not a cloud in the sky. It was the kind of day that left people wishing that they were anywhere besides stuck in school or their office.
American Airlines Flight 11 took off from Boston’s Logan International Airport at 7:59 a.m. en route to Los Angeles on this morning.
Twenty minutes later: 8:19 a.m. and the FBI realized that there was a problem.
It would only be another 27 minutes - 8:46 a.m. - until the rest of the world would soon find out too. It was at this time that American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into Floors 93-99 of the North Tower of the World Trade Center, killing everyone on the flight and hundreds in the building itself.
9:03 a.m.: United Airlines Flight 175 was crashed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center.
9:37 a.m.: American Airlines Flight 77 was crashed into the western side of the Pentagon.
9:59 a.m.: The South Tower collapsed.
10:07 a.m.: Flight 93 was crashed into a field in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, after passengers and crew attempted to regain control of the plane.
10:28 a.m.: the North Tower collapsed.
At 5:20 p.m.: Building Seven of the World Trade Center collapsed after hours of burning.
In just under nine hours, the world as we knew it was over. Two weeks after the attack, the FBI connected the tragedy to al-Qaeda.
It would not be until 2004 that Osama Bin Laden would take responsibility for the evil acts that ended thousands of lives.
This attack against Americans, on American soil, has had an enormous and lasting impact on our world. 9/11 took the lives of 2,977 individuals; over 3,000 children lost a parent directly from these terror attacks. 9/11 left the world completely devastated.
The French newspaper, Le Monde, reacted with the headline, We are all Americans.
Canada reacted by launching Operation Yellow Ribbon, allowing over 200 American flights to land at airports in their country.
Even Iran held candlelight vigils.
The American Muslim Alliance, American Muslim Council, Association of Muslim Scientists and Engineers, Association of Muslim Social Scientists, Council on American-Islamic Relations, Islamic Medical Association of North America, Islamic Circle of North America, Islamic Society of North America, Ministry of Imam W. Deen Mohammed, Muslim American Society and Muslim Public Affairs Council all denounced the attacks.
The United States bounced back, nationalist fever reached a level not seen for many years; one of the greatest tragedies in our nation's history brought Americans closer together.
I wrote this article on the eve of the 14th anniversary of 9/11, and I was stunned to think that I would enter middle school and high school classrooms in the morning, where the majority of students would have barely been 1 years old -- if born at all -- at the time of the terror attacks on the World Trade Center. As a future educator, I will be tasked with presenting 9/11 to my students in a way that will allow for these children, and the children after them, to understand the immense importance that this tragic event had on our world. These children, these students, do not know a world where war is not a constant. They do not know a world where airport security is incredibly intense, and justifiably so. They do not know a world where there is not a sincere and genuine fear that a tragedy of this magnitude could happen again.
Everyone has a duty to remember the victims of this most horrific event. We must always remember the innocent passengers and crew members who died on those flights. Or the innocent workers in the World Trade Center Towers and the Pentagon. Or the remarkably courageous First Responders at all locations who risked their own lives in the attempt to save others.
As Americans, we have the responsibility to support all who were affected by the tragedy of 9/11. We have the responsibility to support those who continue to be affected by this attack and we must make sure that those lost on September 11, 2001, did not die in vain.
Always Remember, Never Forget.