This is an editorial column.

Do you remember where you were on Sept. 11, 2001, when you first heard that a plane had struck one of the World Trade Center towers in New York City? What about when the second tower and the Pentagon were hit, removing all doubt that it wasn’t an accident, and for the first time in history, the American mainland had been attacked?

Friday, Sept. 11, is Patriot Day, the 19th anniversary of the islamic terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers in New York City and the Pentagon. Nearly two decades ago, 19 men hijacked four planes and killed 2,977 people — more than the populations of Crossville and Geraldine combined.

Noting the time and location of first learning the unbelievable news was a popular question then and now. History, which for many was just an idea you read about in school, was made that day in the worst way possible. It was tangible, palpable that this event would be a defining moment in American and world history that future generations would read about.

 “Time is passing. Yet, for the United States of America, there will be no forgetting September the 11th,” said former U.S. President George W. Bush in November 2001. “We will remember every rescuer who died in honor. We will remember every family that lives in grief. We will remember the fire and ash, the last phone calls, the funerals of the children.”

After what was the deadliest terrorist attack in world history, America experienced a renewed spirit of unity. “God Bless America” became popular again at candlelight vigils and memorial services. The attacks were a horrific wake-up call to the true evil that exists in the world and that freedom, like any good thing, must be defended. 

Here we are just a few presidential terms later, a nation seemingly divided on every issue. One can’t help but wonder how we’d react now to a 9/11 in 2020, a year already bookmarked in the annals of history.

One hopes the spirit that brought us together then is still there now. Despite all the death and mayhem of the attacks, America showed a strength not only to be proud of but celebrated. As we remember those who died in the 9/11 attacks, The Reporter encourages readers to think about why America was targeted, how it was able to maintain its resolve amidst the ensuing chaos and how we can be united now in our present hard times and in the future.        

Our View On the Issue is an opinion of The Reporter’s editorial board.

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