Tomorrow marks the twentieth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States. It is hard to believe that twenty years have passed since that terrible day. I can still remember that morning so vividly – the sky was a crisp blue, the temperature was just right for a post-Labor Day morning and everyone was busy getting back into the swing of work after the end of the summer season.
I was in my office on the phone with a client when American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center, and so I did not immediately know what was happening. My mother called while I was on the line and my assistant sent her to my voicemail – she was concerned because at the time I regularly traveled to New York and she wanted to see if I was OK. When I emerged from my office after the call, a group had gathered around a television to watch the events unfold, and it was then that we all watched in horror as United Airlines Flight 175 crashed into the South Tower. Having vividly remembered the 1993 World Trade Center attack, it was clear to me at that moment that this was no accident.
Within the hour, word came that American Airlines Flight 77 had crashed into the Pentagon, and the call was made to evacuate the building. At the time, I was working in the tallest office tower in Baltimore, and there was a concern that attacks could be unfolding in cities up and down the east coast. I distinctly remember exiting the fire stairs into a world that was transformed – the traffic was gridlocked as panicked office workers fled the city, cell phones did not work because the network was overwhelmed and there was a constant threat of the invisible enemy that could fall out of the sky at any moment.
After a taking circuitous route home, I was so relieved to be reunited with my family, but devastated to hear about the horrific loss of life that was unfolding as the Twin Towers fell, the Pentagon burned and United Airlines Flight 93 crashed in Pennsylvania. It was – and still is today – unthinkable that this despicable act of evil could be carried out against so many people who were simply trying to go about their lives and do their jobs.
We must always remember those who lost their lives on that day, and to this day – the flight crews, the passengers, the office workers, the incredibly brave first responders and many others who stepped in to help on the day of the attack and in the months after, as well as the members of our military who were killed or injured fighting the war on terror which followed that tragic day.
Please take a moment tomorrow to reflect on what it was like on that day twenty years ago, and please remember the fallen. I think that is the best way that we can all honor their sacrifice and secure their legacy.
– Dave Lynn