9/11, 17 years later
Editor's note: This is the editorial from the Sept. 6 issue of the Franklin County Citizen Leader.
Alan Jackson famously asked “Where Were You When The World Stopped Turning?”
The song pretty well expressed the feelings and reactions to the horrible terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, in New York City and Washington, D.C.
It’s hard to believe that Tuesday will be the 17th anniversary of the attacks.
It seems like yesterday.
But, it also seems like a lifetime ago.
So much has happened in the world since then – including a war spawned by the attacks that we continue to fight.
The American Legion Magazine recently published a page full of numbers as a remembrance of the attack.
• 19 highjackers;
• 2,977 people killed in New York, Washington, D.C., and Shanksville, Pa.;
• 2,753 killed in the World Trade Center alone;
• 343 firefighters who died;
• 23 police officers who died;
• $123 billion in economic loss due to the attack;
• $60 billion in damage to the World Trade Center site;
• 1.8 million tons of debris;
• 3.1 million hours of labor to clean up the debris; and
• $750 million total cost of cleanup.
The attacks defined one presidency and led to the rise of a second as the country tried to deal with two wars and their consequences.
Franklin County is one of many communities around the country that had sons and daughters die in those wars.
We should never forget the tragedy of that day.
We should remember those innocent lives snuffed out by those motivated by nothing more than hatred.
We should remember the cause that our loved ones fought and died for following the attacks.
We should always stay vigilant to prevent another such attack because somewhere, either here in the U.S. or in the world, some other monster is planning another similar attack.
But there are other lessons we also need to remember.
In the immediate aftermath of the attacks, the people of the United States united behind a common cause: to help the injured and grieving and to bring those responsible to justice.
Unfortunately, it seems that unity, that commonality of purpose has been lost.
Today, it seems that there is no longer disagreement but hatred for others who think differently.
At least that’s the way it is portrayed on television and social media all too often.
Let’s hope it doesn’t take another terrorist attack or similar tragedy to bring us back together again.
Where were you when the world stopped turning?
A good question to reflect on and remember.
But a better one today is how do we join as a nation, as a community, as friends to keep it turning?
–– Shane Scoggins