The day that followed the 9-11 terrorist attacks was the most tragic, yet one the greatest days our country has ever been through.
“We weren’t Democrats, we weren’t Republicans, we weren’t black, we weren’t white, we weren’t men, we weren’t women…we were Americans,” said Todd Cook, partner in the Cook Land Company who helped expand the 9-11 memorial in 2019.
People just wanted to help people.
The first responders were rushing to the attack sites, the construction workers conducting search and rescue missions, clean up crews, and the people who wanted to give a helping hand to the civilians that were in turmoil after the attacks.
Everyone came together to pick the country back up again and assisted in any way they could and that is why 9-12 is so remarkable.
“We lost that unity we had on 9/12,” said Cook, “I would sure like to go back to those ways.”
On September 12, 2001 thousands of people took part in a candlelight vigil on the Mall, in Washington D.C. These people lit candles and crowded around the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool in memory of the victims of the terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington D.C.
The empathy from American citizens on that day set the reminder of how even in the face of the uncontrollable, the one thing we can control is our response.
When it comes to the country’s efforts to make the United States safer for its people, they made some extreme changes to air travel.
According to History.com, before the 9-11 terrorist attack, people could wander the halls of airports without a ticket and could board planes without having their IDs checked.
“Most airports didn’t bother running background checks on their employees, and checked baggage was never scanned,” said Jeffrey Price, a noted aviation security expert.
U.S. airports made some new emergency safety measures after the attacks, including the banning of selling or using knives, even plastic ones, at airports, the process of evacuating and sweeping all terminals with K-9 teams units, and discontinuing curbside check-ins.
September 12, 2001 also marked the start of the United States’ military campaign, War on Terror.
The United States vowed to strike back for the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
It was the largest attack on U.S. soil by any foreign entity since Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.
According to CNN, The North Atlantic Treaty Organization, NATO, which was an intergovernmental military alliance between 28 European countries and 2 North American countries, said that “an armed attack against one of the organization’s members is considered an attack against all of them.”
With that permission from NATO, the United States was able to invoke a section of the charter and count on the support of its allies in mounting military operations. This moment was significant because It was the first time in the 52-year history of alliance that the NATO self-defense charter was summoned.
With the present and sudden threat of terrorism that resulted from the U.S. military being taken out of Afghanistan, it is important to remember that there is strength in numbers. No matter what happens, American citizens will always have a right to unite under the stars and stripes of our country and fight for freedom and peace.
“Today, more than ever we need to remember the unity and the resilience of the ‘American Spirit’” said Anna Borgeas, Executive Director of California 9-11 Memorial.