Have You Forgotten?

VFW asks this question of all Americans 22 years after the tragedy on 9/11

WASHINGTON — Have you forgotten what happened on Sept. 11, 22 years ago?

As time marches on, America continues to deal with new challenges, tragedies and turmoil that arise in the world. That is why the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) challenges all Americans to remember and honor the lives of so many who were tragically taken from us during the terroristic events that took place in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Shanksville, Pennsylvania, on Sept. 11, 2001.

Let us recount the events of that tragic day:

It was at 8:46 a.m. Eastern Standard Time on that Tuesday morning when the first plane, American Airlines Flight 11, hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City. The second plane, United Airlines Flight 175, struck the South Tower of the World Trade Center at 9:03 a.m. News anchors announced that planes were being hijacked and used by terrorists as guided missiles … the nation was under attack. Thirty-four minutes later, at 9:37 a.m., American Airlines Flight 77, crashed into the Pentagon collapsing part of the building. Then at 9:59 a.m., the burning WTC South Tower collapsed. Four minutes later, at 10:03 a.m., United Airlines Flight 93, crashed in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. At 10:28 a.m., the WTC’s North Tower collapsed. In just 102 minutes, 19 hijackers would succeed in taking the lives of 2,977 Americans and terrorizing our country with the entire world watching in horror.  

Yet, in the midst of this unimaginable tragedy, stories of unbelievable heroism were being reported from every location. Firefighters and law enforcement officers running into the burning World Trade Center buildings, rescuing hundreds of people. Service members leading others through the burning, smoldering Pentagon rubble to safety. Passengers of Flight 93 who decided to fight back against hijackers to prevent them getting to their intended target. The selfless sacrifice would come to define that day as much, if not more so than the attacks themselves.

A little more than twenty years ago, country music artist Darryl Worley released a song titled, “Have You Forgotten” about the Sept. 11 attacks. At the time, it seemed unfathomable that anyone would forget what happened on that day. Yet two decades later, many people cannot recall the reason for the 20-year long war in Afghanistan and why service members are still being deployed to the Middle East, even today. 

This Patriot Day and National Day of Service and Remembrance, the VFW encourages every American to take time to remember the victims, reflect on the extraordinary courage of first responders and ordinary citizens alike, pay tribute to those who took the fight to the enemy and sacrificed to protect and defend our freedom, and never let Sept. 11, 2001, fade from our memory.

Always remember.