Good morning Meridian, Tomorrow marks the 20th anniversary of 9/11 — a day which has defined the course of our country and altered the way we think about those who serve — from first responders to the military — in a way few other days have done. As a nation, many of us will take part in 9/11 observances tomorrow such as the ones being held at Meridian Fire Station #1 in the morning and the Blue Mass at the Holy Apostles Church in the afternoon. Whether you attend a specific event or pause in memory, I urge you reflect back to that Tuesday and remember those who gave their life on that day and in the days since.
For me, I was working on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. I remember watching the events unfold in New York City with the thousands of fire fighters, police, and other first responders that jumped into action to help rescue those in need at the Twin Towers. As I watched in shock with so many others, I recall the dedicated Capitol Police officers who sprang into action and evacuated the Capitol and surrounding buildings to secure people to safety as the events at the Pentagon and UA Flight 93 were taking place. It was solemn and heroic at the same time.
That day, all first responders worked tirelessly to ensure that people were safe as terrorists attempted to strike the very core of America’s founding, both physically and symbolically. So many acting on instinct to find and protect every person that they could by running into danger, and some making the ultimate sacrifice in doing so. For the immeasurable impact on those responders and their families, I am forever grateful.
I am also reminded how fragile our freedoms and founding principles are, and I am humbled looking back at how quickly we all came together, rose up, and stood strong in unity to ensure that our communities and our Country became stronger. I am grateful for the way America moved in unison to reaffirm that our democratic republic demands attention, unity, and common ground to ensure that our principles have a foundation to grow from.
While I have an opportunity to see our first responders often, yesterday I visited Mountain Home Air Force Base and I am continually grateful for all that our active service members do every day. Let us never forget the events of 9/11 and all that came afterwards. From the actions of our first responders that day to the years of sacrifice from our military. Together we need to hold them in firm remembrance of why our Country is so great. To have the freedoms we have, remembering the remarkable spirit of patriotism and unity and countless acts of heroism, kindness, and compassion that came through in the days following 9/11. I ask that we each take this time to pay tribute to those who rose in service, and honor those who continue to serve our country and community today.
Whether attending the 9/11 Observance at Fire Station #1, offering prayer at the Blue Mass event, visiting with our active duty, veterans, and national guard, or any other number of ways to pay respect to those fallen in 9/11 and to those who continue to serve, I hope you will take time to remember the significance of the day’s events and, more importantly, the actions that followed.
As we mourn and remember the actions from 20 years ago, I hope everyone will recall the freedom and tolerance that define our nation, and reaffirm our commitment to preserving our core values as a Country. Take time tomorrow to reflect and never forget. And if you can’t make an event, please observe a moment of silence at one or all of the following times marking key moments from 9/11.
- 8:46 a.m.: Hijackers deliberately crashed American Airlines Flight 11 into floors 93 through 99 of the North Tower.
- 9:03 a.m.: Hijackers deliberately crashed United Airlines Flight 175 into floors 77 through 85 of the South Tower.
- 9:37 a.m.: Hijackers deliberately crashed American Airlines Flight 77 into the Pentagon, near Washington, D.C.
- 9:59 a.m.: The South Tower collapsed.
- 10:03 a.m.: After learning of the other attacks, passengers on United Airlines Flight 93 launched a counterattack on hijackers prior to the plane crashing into an empty field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
- 10:28 a.m.: The North Tower collapsed.