Never forget the horrors of that beautiful, crystal clear Tuesday morning. Never forget the confusion after news of the first impact came across the television, over the radio, or from a friend. Never forget the certainty and uncertainty alike of seeing, hearing or feeling the second. Never forget the reports from the Pentagon, another airplane and hundreds more passengers–mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters–lost in Washington, D.C. and in a field in western Pennsylvania.
Never forget the images of those who jumped rather than submitting to the flames, fumes and smoke, and never forget the God-awful sound of their desperation finally reaching the Earth below. Never forget the businessmen covered in ash, soot and blood, carrying their suit jackets to nowhere in particular, the women crying on any shoulder in reach, the masses crossing the Brooklyn Bridge with that morning’s death and destruction behind them but far from out of sight. Never forget the heartwrenching feeling which arose from knowing that those buildings, as they fell in a heap of steel, concrete, soot, ash and dust, snuffed out thousands of innocent lives in an instant.
Never forget the hopelessness, the unanswered questions lost in the eerily quiet skies of the days to come. Never forget the anger, the ensuing resolve, the wounded but undefeated nation which came together in the subsequent days, weeks and months, the flags by the curbside and in every window, the spirit determined and strong.
Most of all, never forget the families left behind, the boys and girls who never again saw their mothers and fathers, the as-yet-unborn children now in their seventh year with nothing but photographs of a parent they had never met.
And never for a moment forget the stories of those who died, and the unparalleled heroism of those who selflessly gave their lives to save others.