Most Americans were starting their workday on that fateful Tuesday when the first airplane struck the towers at 7:46 A. M.
Gilmer-- It was a beautiful September morning when 19 terrorists from the militant Islamist terrorist group al-Qaeda attacked America and killed 2,996 men, women, and children in an unprovoked attack on the twin towers in New York City. Like many Americans, I had just dropped my own children off at school and had returned home for some last-minute chores before heading into work. I never made it to work that day. Instead, my wife and I stood in our living room as we watched the coordinated attack unfold on the national news.
Our first thoughts were to go to the school and retrieve our kids and bring them home. By the time I pulled into the parking lot, it was utmost pandemonium and chaos. I retrieved my sons and headed home with them where we continued to watch the news unfold on television. The last time I had seen a tragedy of this magnitude unfold was January 28, 1986, when the space shuttle Challenger exploded on national television killing all on board. I was just as stunned then as I was now watching so many people die needless deaths.
Since then and over the years, many writers have interviewed survivors and told the many stories of heroism that took place that fateful day. We still remember when our President stood amongst the rubble and using a megaphone and told the terrorists that soon the world would hear our response loud and clear. In the years that followed, movies were made about the events, and patriotic songs were written to celebrate the lives lost and the many lives that were headed into harm's way to ensure terrorists were held accountable.
And now, tomorrow morning, twenty years from the date this occurred, we will celebrate that we are no longer at war in the Middle East. Our current leaders will announce with glib satisfaction and resolve how they are responsible for ending one of the longest wars America has ever endured shortly before the 20th anniversary of the event that kicked it off. Some will argue the job wasn't finished or it was ended wrongly. History will be the judge of that.
Tomorrow should be more about remembrance and unity. As Medal of Honor Recipient and U. S. Marine Dakota Meyer recently stated, put your politics aside tomorrow. We are all Americans and we owe it to our fellow Americans who lost their lives in the fight against terror to remember their contributions and to celebrate the families they left behind.
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