Where were you on September 11, 2001?
Well, I was in my church office working. I had just finished conducting a chapel meeting with the students and teachers of our elementary school. My secretary came in late that morning, and told me to cut on the television. At the time, I did not own a television, so I borrowed one from a friend and turned it on to one of the national news channels, and like millions of others, I was stunned.
Words fail to describe the unbelievable tragedy–the devastation–of that fateful day. At 8:45 a.m., a plane hijacked by terrorists crashed into the north tower of the World Trade Center in New York City. Minutes later, another plane hurtled into the south tower. Massive explosions ripped through multiple floors of both office buildings. As terrified employees on the lower floors scrambled to evacuate, miles away a third plane slammed into the Pentagon building in Washington, D.C. Before it could reach its intended target, a fourth plane nose-dived into a field in Pennsylvania, killing everyone aboard. Back in New York, onlookers watched in horror as one after another, the 110-story twin towers collapsed on the heads of rescue workers, firemen, and police officers.
In just a matter of moments–before anyone really understood what was going on–thousands of lives had been lost.
America was stunned. Nothing like this had ever happened in the history of the country, or even of the world. Politicians and pundits struggled to put the disaster in perspective, comparing it to such catastrophic events as the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the Oklahoma City Bombing. Others insisted that this was “the Pearl Harbor of the 21st century,” a “new Day of Infamy.” President Bush called the terrorist attacks “acts of war.” An entire generation would now be asking each other, “Where were you on September 11?”
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