It wasn’t an act of God, but rather of the Godless. Desperate to gain attention for a despicable cause, a group of radicals planned an audacious attack to maim and kill indiscriminately, and they carried it out in precise and deadly fashion. It was an deed so cowardly in its concept that the entire civilized world reeled in shock and dismay.
Through the horror of it all, people of different races, religions and backgrounds banded together in a concerted effort to simply survive. And survive we did, but we lost so many. So many good souls, who had moments before been doing what we all do in the course of the day.
Some of the grim statistics:
Total number killed in attacks in New York: 2,753
Number of firefighters and paramedics killed: 343
Number of NYPD officers: 23
Number of Port Authority police officers: 37
Number of WTC companies in the towers that lost people: 128
Number of employees who died in the two Towers: 2,016
Number of civilians killed in four planes: 227
Number of civilians killed on Flight 93: 33
Number of nations whose citizens were killed in attacks: 115
Number of families who got no remains: 1,717
Estimated units of blood donated to the New York Blood Center:36,000
Number of people who lost a spouse or partner in the attacks:1,609
Estimated number of children who lost a parent: 3,051
Number of funerals attended by Rudy Giuliani in 2001: 200
Tons of debris removed from site: 1,506,124
Days after 9/11 that the U.S. began bombing Afghanistan: 26
Economic loss to New York in month following the attacks: $105 billion
Estimated cost of cleanup: $600 million
Estimated amount donated to 9/11 charities: $1.4 billion
Estimated amount of money raised for funds dedicated to NYPD and FDNY families: $500 million
Average benefit already received by each FDNY and NYPD widow:$1 million
Estimated number of New Yorkers suffering from post-traumatic-stress disorder as a result of 9/11: 422,000
What this band of savages failed to take into account was the resolve and resiliency of the American people. A fighting spirit so deep, that 33 brave passengers on Flight 93 met their death while battling the terrorists aboard, causing the doomed airplane to crash in a Pennsylvania field.
It was a moment of terror and confusion, but in the end, we as a country turned it into something more. We united as one, turned our collective faces to the west, and sought out those who had desecrated our shores. Country-western superstar Toby Keith said it best:
Soon as we could see clearly
Through our big black eye
Man, we lit up your world
Like the Fourth of July.
Since we began our counter-attack a little over three weeks after 9/11, we have killed thousands of those responsible, and in 2011, their insidious leader (I’ll not honor his memory by mentioning his name) was gunned down in his pajamas by a team of our finest and bravest, the U.S. Navy Seals.
Is the battle over? No, sadly not. As long as evil strides the earth, strife will continue, and the beloved will fall in battle. But through it all, remember one thing:
We are a God-fearing nation, strong and proud, and we will fight to the last man, woman and child to keep it that way. Our ancestors worked, bled and died to make this a nation of freedom – freedom to live, to prosper, and to pursue our own dreams. And to anyone who dares interfere with that dream, BEWARE. The bright lights of the Fourth of July will be your fate, as well.
God bless all who lost their lives that fateful day, and may he visit his strength upon all who survived them and mourn.
And God bless the U.S.A.