today in black history

December 13, 2017

Human rights activist Ella Baker is born in Norfolk, Virginia in 1903.

Remembering 9/11

POSTED: September 11, 2008, 12:00 am

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It is difficult to fathom but seven years have passed since the terrorist attacks upon the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon in northern Virginia, and the aircraft downed in a Pennsylvania field by passengers who selflessly gave their lives to thwart an attack on the nation’s capital. For many Americans 9/11 is now a passing memory to be relived only via news reports on the anniversary. For those of us who live in the New York area it is still fresh given the void that exists on the site where the Twin Towers once stood and the emptiness in the many homes of people who lost their lives that day. We suspect the same feelings are experienced by families of victims of the Pentagon attack and Shanksville Pennsylvania jet crash.

The pain of that day still resonates for many people; most certainly for families directly impacted. The scars run deep and the emotional toll is great. September 11, 2001 will forever remain etched in our memory because we have yet to come to terms with the sheer audacity of what occurred and have difficulty understanding the hate from which the terrorists act sprang. Even when we feign some understanding of geopolitics we are left with little to help explain away what we experienced and some tragically witnessed on that dark day. It is one thing to be aware of the complexities of foreign policy, quite another to comprehend the depths to which extremism of any kind can lead to the depraved acts that were committed seven years ago on this date.

The impact of the events of September 11, 2001 on our nation cannot be overstated. Air travelers feel it upon every trip through an American airport when they encounter long security lines, Muslims feel it when they draw suspicious glances, and we all feel it with the unease we now experience aboard aircraft and in tall buildings. In many ways we will never be able to go back to life as it was on September 10, 2001; a day that we will now reminisce as the end of our collective false sense of security.

Today, as has been the case on this day for the last seven years, families of victims and emergency services personnel will take time out to pay respect and honor those killed by terrorists. Time may ease the pain but for many, life will never be the same. How could it? What started as a picture perfect late summer morning with a brilliant blue sky and blazing sun instantly turned into a nightmarish scene in which death reigned upon lower Manhattan. Despite the construction cranes and activity that takes place every day on the site of the former Twin Towers there is a certain eeriness that persists in and around the 16 acre site that has become known worldwide as “Ground Zero.”

We will leave the discussions about the political circumstances surrounding 9/11 to another day. Today we remember the mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, grandparents and friends who perished. We pray that their families will someday find comfort in their loss. We hope our nation will never forget the names of those who perished and we urge the construction and completion of the permanent memorials to victims at the Trade Center site and in Pennsylvania.

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