This year marks the 19th anniversary of 9/11, remembered as the deadliest day in U.S. history. Four planes flown by terrorists slammed into the World Trade Center’s twin towers in New York and the Pentagon just outside of Washington, D.C. in Arlington, Va. and a fourth that crashed in a field in Shanksville, Pa. Hundreds of people were killed instantly, including men, women, and children of every race and ethnic group. Hundreds of others died trying to escape the flames and collapse of the 110-story New York skyscraper hit by a plane on the 80th floor, and moments later, a plane sliced through the 60th floor of its twin tower.
The attacks were captured on television broadcasts raising shock and fear across the country and the world. Among those who survived, thousands still suffer from grave illnesses, including cancers of all sorts. Many continue to seek compensation for their life-threatening conditions, including the first responders and their survivors. Others are still grieving the loss of loved ones, and their wounds reopen on the anniversary of the attack.
On this day, we join those who remember the six D.C. Public Schools teachers and students who were killed on the plane that crashed into the Pentagon. They were en route to California to study ecology by invitation of the National Geographic Society. We take this moment to say their names: Asia Cottom, Bernard Brown and Rodney Dickens, along with their teachers Hilda Taylor, James Debeuneure and Sarah Clark, from Leckie and Ketchum Elementary Schools and Backus Middle School.
Nearly 20 years later, Americans ask if we are safer today. The Obama administration abandoned the color-coded warning system, leaving most Americans with no idea of our daily susceptibility to an attack. And, what are the current warning systems?
The increasing incidents of internal terrorist attacks lay bare the fact that we are not safer. And this president makes us feel less safe with acts and statements that stoke the fires of conflict domestically and across the globe.
As we reflect on 9/11, it’s also a time to remember why it’s important to vote on Nov. 3. The security of this country also rests in the hands of its voters.