To everyone who was affected by the attacks on September 11th, 2001, this one is for you.
Sixteen years ago, the landscape of the United States, particularly in New York City, was changed forever. At 8:46 a.m., the first plane crashed into the North Towers. Hundreds were killed instantly, much more injured. Everyone above the 91st floor was trapped after the emergency stair cases were severed. At 9:03 a.m., in the midst of evacuations, another plane struck the South Tower.
Just over 200 miles away in Washington D.C., a jet crashes into the Pentagon at 9:37 a.m. In Shanksville, Pennsylvania, 20 minutes flying time away from Washington D.C., Flight 93 crashes at 10:03 a.m. Just like every passenger and crew member on American Airlines Flight 11, United Airlines Flight 175, and American Airlines Flight 77, every passenger and crew member on Flight 93 perished.
To every single crew member and pilot flying the hijacked planes, thank you. Thank you for risking your lives for the safety of the passengers. Thank you for trying to get them to safety. For the passengers on Flight 77, your courageous attempts to storm the cockpit did not go unnoticed. You are heroes for that.
To the passengers on the planes, I'm sorry. I'm sorry you boarded your respective flights and never got to your destination. I'm sorry you didn't get to call your family members, or maybe if you did, you didn't get to say everything you wanted to. I'm sorry you lost your lives to such a senseless tragedy. My heart is broken for you and your families.
To the families who lost loved ones, I admire you. I admire you for not letting grief and fear consume your lives. I admire you for waking up every day, remembering loved ones, and taking their memory with you. I admire you for being able to still go on a plane and not let fear immobilize you.
To the first responders, no amount of thank you will ever do your work justice. To the NYPD and NYFD, you are heroes forever. To the police officers, fire fighters, nurses, paramedics, and any other first responder, thank you from the bottom of my heart.
To the ones who made the ultimate sacrifice, thank you for going into the burning buildings, unsure if you would come back out. To the ones who are still with us, thank you for being brave enough to still work and make a difference in lives all over the country. Thank you for continuously keeping us safe.
To the troops overseas fighting this war on terror, thank you for serving. Thank you for keeping our country safe for sixteen years. We all want you home soon, and safely. To the troops who made the ultimate sacrifice overseas fighting this war on terror, thank you for your heroism. Because of the men and women overseas, civilians in America can have a semi-normal life.
To my family members who went to New York City to assist in recovery and aid, you are all my heroes, and I love you dearly. Thank you for making sure families were reunited, people were saved and for being able to promise tomorrow for those who lost everything.
Thank you for being brave enough and strong enough to put strangers needs before yours. And yes Uncle Kevin, of course, I was going to use your picture in this article.
To everyone who was far away from the attacks but still felt the effect of them, you are not alone. You were still allowed to grieve for New York City, Washington D.C., Pennsylvania, and America as a whole. If you were too young to remember the attacks, you are still allowed to grieve. If you were thousands of miles away and lost a loved one, I am truly sorry for you.
To the children born on such a dark day in American history, don't let that define you. Take the hatred of that day and turn it into love. Do not let the fear of that day dictate your life. You are the future of this country. Let the events of 9/11/2001 inspire you to change the world.
To the children who were born after 9/11 and had lost their parent in the attack, you are also our future. Do not let the loss you feel make you bitter. Rise up and become stronger than the cowards who took away your father. Change the world and do not let anyone stop you.
To Americans as a whole, thank you. Thank you for banding together, volunteering, donating blood, resources, and water, opening your homes and arms to strangers. Thank you for flying the American flag high and with pride. Thank you for showing such an overwhelming amount of patriotism and strength in such a dark time.
To every single construction worker who put time and effort into Freedom tower, thank you. Thank you for giving back the New York skyline what it was missing. Thank you for building a beacon of hope for the country.
Time heals scars. New buildings have been rebuilt and memorials have been constructed. The memory of everyone who died on 9/11 is still present. It is still important to honor them. It is still important to be just as patriotic as we were 16 years ago. It is still important to thank the first responders who saved so many lives.
To every single person affected by 9/11, you are braver than you know and stronger than you think. Thank you for persisting. Thank you for rebuilding your life. Thank you for giving this country a future and a chance.