Twenty years ago on Sept. 11, 2001, our country was a victim of a horrendous, cowardly attack, an act of war. Since 9/11/01, our lives as American citizens living not only in the U.S., but everywhere in the world, has not been the same. That terrorist attack changed the way ALL Americans live their day-today lives, how we feel about our country’s security and our OWN personal safety.
We should never forget the individuals who lost their lives, their family members and the heroes who saved so many lives. A total of 2,996 people were killed in the 9/11/01 attacks. At the World Trade Center, 2,763 people died, including 343 firefighters and paramedics, 23 New York City police officers and 37 Port Authority police officers who struggled to save lives. At the Pentagon, 189 people were killed, including 64 passengers on American Airlines Flight 77. On Flight 93, 44 people died when the plane crashlanded in Pennsylvania.
Since 9/11/01, an estimated 7,057 service members have died during military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere as part of the Global War on Terrorism while suicides among active duty personnel and veterans of those conflicts have reached 30,177. We don’t have a count of the number of victims who died after the attack due to toxic chemical exposure which also created a variety of health complications, resulting in permanent physical injuries and psychological — PTSD issues related to the attacks. We owe more than we can ever repay to the all the first responders and our military for their service, putting their lives on the line.
In light of the current world events, especially in the Middle East, we must be more vigilant to prevent another attack on our homeland. We should never forget the individuals represented that carried out the attack on 9/11 and why they attacked the U.S. Our military fought bravely and relentlessly for 20 years fighting terrorists on their home field, making great advancement in eliminating the terrorist stronghold. Unfortunately, all U.S. military forces in the Middle East were recently ordered to return to the U.S. leaving the terrorists to reign over the area again, allowing the terrorists to re-establish their base and giving them the ability to wreak international terrorist havoc.
A passenger on Flight 93, Todd Beamer, was heard over an open phone line saying, “Are you guys ready? Let’s roll.” We all need to “be ready to roll” to defend our country from all dangers, foreign and domestic.
I ask not only all Americans, but the world to never forget what happened on 9/11/01 because IT CAN HAPPEN AGAIN … ANYWHERE!
God Bless the USA and the great State of Texas.
WILLIE LEAL Jr. is the Commander for American Legion Post 436 in Jourdanton. You may reach him at 830-480- 1935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.