We used to think of the United States as an impenetrable castle. No army could enter, no attack would go unnoticed because we have a Coast Girard, a Navy, an Air Force, the Marines, to keep us safe. We lost our tranquility that day, our sense of security, our certainty in our superior strength. Nobody ever contemplated that the attack could take the form of the terror attacks of 9/11. It is hard to fathom on this 18th anniversary, that so many men and women flew to different destinations went to work never to return home. 2, 983 men, women and children died in the 2001 attacks. The 9/11 Memorial & Museum will be the venue for an annual ceremony during which the names of those who perished that day will be read. The ceremony will start at 8:39 a.m., the moment the first airplane hit the first tower. There will be a moment of silence at the White House presided over by the President and the First Lady. Five other moments are planned, with a total of six, two for the moment the towers were hit, two for the moment they fell, one of the moment the Pentagon was his and one more for the moment United Flight 93 crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
The Tribute in Light in New York will be back for one more year. Memories are still fresh for so many of us who saw the television images of the attacks and heard about the United plane going down in Pennsylvania. It is unfortunate that the retaliation against the culprits of that tragic attack was misdirected. President George W. Bush went to the ruins of the towers in New York undeclared that the terrorists would hear form us. At that moment we didn’t have a clear idea as to the intellectual author of the attacks. The name of bin Laden emerged later and the search began to find him to exact vengeance. In the meantime our troops created chaos in the Middle East invading Iraq to topple Saddam Hussein. Bush mistakenly declared Mission Accomplished, but we know that only in retrospect. At that moment it seemed only right to support what our government was doing because we understood that the objective was to restore credibility and faith in our strength, sending a message to terrorists that their actions would be met with enormous force. But beating Hussein was not enough, and our lives were changed forever after 9/11. It changed the way we travel, the way we greet or say farewell to each other at airports and most assuredly the sense that our borders are impenetrable and we are secure in our daily lives. Domestic terrorism has helped to destroy our peace, and on this anniversary we look back to those years before 9/11 with nostalgia for more innocent times. The commemoration of 9/11 is another opportunity to renew our obligation to look for ways to restore peace to this world. Only words of understanding, not weapons, will unite humanity.