By Michael Hernandez
It’s been 18 years but I join in with the Ventura Fire Department stations special remembrance ceremony at 6:59 a.m. (the time coincides with the collapse of the New York World Trade Center South Tower) for the first responders and civilians who lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001. Nearly 3,000 people were lost—but never forgotten.
Today is a day to remember the firefighters who rushed into the World Trade Towers giving their lives to rescue those trapped in both the South and North Towers. More than 2,000 firefighters, police officers, federal agents and other first responders have died after inhaling toxic fumes during recovery efforts and when clearing rubble at the scene. The number of those who have died from 9-11 related illnesses is expected to climb over time.
Today is a day to remember the passengers aboard United Airlines Flight 175 which hit floors 77-85 of the World Trade Center South Tower and the passengers of American Airlines Flight 11 which hit floors 93-99 of the World Trade Center North Tower. Both planes had launched from Boston’s Logan International Airport.
Today is the day to remember the passengers aboard American Airlines Flight 77 that hit the Pentagon. Today the place of this airplane crash is now the Pentagon Chapel. Many lives were saved because the plane impacted a remodeled wing of the Pentagon that was vacant and not to be filled until later that afternoon.
Today is the day to remember Todd Beamer and the other heroic passengers aboard United Airlines Flight 93 that diverted the plane from reaching Washington D.C. by overcoming the hijackers bringing the plane down into a Pennsylvania field, near Shanksville, killing themselves and the hijackers. This airplane was set to crash at the U.S. Capitol. “They made the decision we didn’t have to make” said Lt. Col. Marc Sasseville, an F-16 Air Force pilot who along with Lt. Heather “Lucky” Penney, had been tasked by Vice President Dick Cheney with stopping Flight 93 “by any means necessary” in a suicide mission of ramming the aircraft because they didn’t have any missiles on board.
Today is the day to recount President Donald J. Trump’s words at the Pentagon: “For every American who lived through that day, the September 11 attack is seared into our soul. It was a day filled with shock, horror, sorrow and righteous fury…We cannot erase the pain or reverse the evil of that dark and wretched day, but we offer you…our eternal pledge that your loved ones will never, every be forgotten.”
Today is the day to remember the nearly six million young men and women who have joined the United States armed forces since Sept. 11. “They have crossed seas, climbed mountains, trekked through deserts and rushed into enemy compounds to face down the threat of radical Islamic terrorism,” said President Trump during his speech. “Nearly 7,000 service members have laid down their lives to protect our home, our flag and our American way of life. American freedom survives only because there are patriots willing to sacrifice everything in its defense.”
America, California and Ventura County may we never forget 9-11!
(Editor’s Note: To view and read about 9-11 events from a new book published today entitled “The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9/11 go to:
https://www./foxnews.com/politics/new-9-11-book-flight-93 and to hear a 9-11 remembrance radio show go to the American Center for Law and Justice website: https://aclj.org/aclj/9-11-remember-ft-mayor-giuliani-and-attorney-general-ascroft.)
Michael Hernandez, Co-Founder of the Citizens Journal—Ventura County’s online news service; editor of the History Makers Report and founder of History Makers International—a community nonprofit serving youth and families in Ventura County, is a former Southern California daily newspaper journalist and religion and news editor. He has worked 25 years as a middle school teacher. Mr. Hernandez can be contacted by email at [email protected].
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