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Sept. 11, 2011 cannot be forgotten.
It’s a day the United States — and the world — saw the face of evil.
As Ketchikan rolled out of bed that day, turned on the coffee pot and switched on the morning TV news shows, it caught the attack on the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City happening in video.
Smoke billowed from one tower that had been struck by a jetliner flying into it; then a second jetliner followed suit into the second tower.
Meanwhile, flummoxed newscasters tried to get a handle on what had transpired, and soon reported a third jet had struck the Pentagon. Before the attack ended, the fourth of four jetliners that had been hijacked by Middle Eastern men careened into a Pennsylvania field, missing its target of the White House because passengers had revolted against the terrorists onboard.
The attack had been planned by terrorist Osama bin Laden, who the United States tracked down and killed 10 years later.
The attack destroyed the Trade Center, killed 2,606 at the center, 265 on the flights and 125 at the Pentagon. Another 6,000 suffered injuries.
The attack not only struck the U.S. homeland, but sent shockwaves around the planet because the towers served as a place of business for foreigners living in the United States, as well. Not all of these guests survived the day’s atrocity.
The search for bodies went on for weeks. Some of the dead included emergency responders first on the scene and before the damaged towers fell. Other responders died as a result of diseases they contracted due to exposure to the contaminated air at the site.
Cleaning up the destruction took years, and rebuilding continued as long. The restoring of lives of those who lost loved ones is ongoing. Spouses, parents and grandparents lost those closest to them, and remained to carry on for their families. Children grew up without a parent, maybe both parents.
Today we join the nation — perhaps the world — in at least a moment of silence to remember all of these people and the best in the humanity displayed in the rescue and recovery efforts by many, many heroes of that time.
But we also must not forget that it takes vigilance to prevent such tragedies from happening. We must be prepared to thwart evil at its first sighting. For if we don’t challenge it then, it will only grow stronger and more lethal.
9-11 is our call to stand guard.