20th anniversary of Sept. 11

The Best Times Digital Edition

That “Never Forget” moment is upon us once again.

In a few months, we, as individuals and as a nation, will sadly observe the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks against the United States that killed 2,977 innocent people in New York City, Arlington, Va., and Shanksville, Pa.

Do you remember where you were that morning, that tragic day, when you first heard that a plane had struck one of the World Trade Center towers in New York City?

What about when the second Twin Tower and the Pentagon were hit and a plane crashed in Stonycreek Township near a small Pennsylvania borough, removing all doubt that it wasn’t an accident, and for the first time in history, the American mainland had been attacked?

Asking about first learning the unbelievable news 20 years ago was a question then and now. Many of our parents/grandparents were asked similar questions for years/decades about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

The Best Times would like to hear the memories/thoughts of our readers were when they first heard that the nation was under attack.

Here are important guidelines:

  • Responses must be brief. 50 words or less.
  • Hint: When did you first know of the attacks – where were you; how did you find out; what were you doing or getting ready to do; who was with you at the time, if anyone; how did you react?
  • Email submissions to gerald.hay@jocogov.org or mail to The Best Times, 111 South Cherry St, Olathe, KS 66061 by Aug. 6.

Please also include: Your name. Your city of residence or retirement facility if living in one. Your age (optional).

We plan to share some responses in the next issue (September-October) in commemoration of the 20th observance of the deadly attacks and in remembrance of the lives lost.

It’s a dark date to recall but remember we must. “Time is passing. Yet, for the United States of America, there will be no forgetting September the 11th,” said former U.S. President George W. Bush on Nov. 11, 2001. “We will remember every rescuer who died in honor. We will remember every family that lives in grief. We will remember the fire and ash, the last phone calls, the funerals of the children.”

On Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, when we look back 20 years ago, we’ll probably see that Sept. 11, 2001, was as much the same to everyone as it was different to each individual.

We all remember the attacks. There is no denying the scale of the deadliest terrorist attack in American history. We all recall the photos, live TV coverage and video from Sept. 11. People stumbling away from the World Trade Center or leaping to their deaths from the upper floors suffered terribly. Firefighters, law enforcement officers, first responders and everyday citizens who tried to save those lives were heroes.

The attacks were a horrific wake-up call to the true evil that exists in the world and that freedom, like any good thing, must be defended.

Sept. 11 is one of this generation’s defining moments. Our generations have dealt with Vietnam and Korea, and before that came Pearl Harbor and the subsequent World War II involvement.

It is up to us to keep this part of our history alive. We should not just create a national day of prayers, mourning or remembrance, in observing an annual Patriot Day on Sept. 11, but make sure our children, our children’s children and so forth know both the triumphs and tribulations our country has experienced in this century’s day of infamy.

For some, the attacks hit home more than others. Some readers might have lost loved ones or friends in the attacks. Maybe some were there, in New York City, in the nation’s capital or in Pennsylvania or the surrounding areas when the planes struck the towers and Pentagon or crashed into a field.

And, there are many readers who were nowhere close to the East Coast and knew nobody physically hurt or killed in the attacks; they could only watch helplessly and in horror and disbelief, as did most of the nation, the tragedy unfold from a few or thousands of miles away.

Regardless of the different ways we woke up and began that day, many of us finished it the same way. We remember the disbelief, fear, anger, shock and other uncontrollable emotions evoked by what we saw and felt.

Now, 20 years later, it doesn’t matter exactly how we annually remember Sept. 11 or what specific details we recall. The important thing is that we do, in fact, remember it.