Fellow Americans and internet users, it is that time of year again. Twelve years ago today, several al-Quaeda
members hijacked four American airliners and directed them against four targets in New York City and Washington, D.C. These targets were the Pentagon, the White House, and the Twin Towers of which consisted the World Trade Center. All are and were powerful symbols of western society & prosperity and capitalism. It is for that reason that they were attacked.
Nineteen al-Quaeda members hijacked four planes. Of the four, three succeeded in striking against their targets. The fourth was diverted thanks to the heroic actions of the passengers, who managed to cause the airplane to crash land in Pennsylvania, far from the White House, the terrorist's attempted target. However, that was but a small consolation compared to the damage wrought by the other terrorists. One airplane was flown into the Pentagon, causing much damage and killing 125 people, including 55 military personnel. The remaining two airplanes crashed into the Twin Towers, almost completely destroying them. Casualties from the New York attacks included 2,606 civilians, which, combined with the 246 airplane passengers, the 19 hijackers, and the casualties from the Pentagon attack, added up to a total of 2,966 dead.
Three years later, in 2004, Osama bin Laden, the head of al-Quaeda, took credit for the attack, although he had initially denied being involved. al-Quaeda's motives for the attack were religious as well as political, bin Laden citing the U.S. military presence in Saudi Arabia and sanctions against Iraq as some of his motives behind the attack. It was not until May 2011 that he was tracked down and killed by American soldiers in Pakistan, having occupied the number one spot on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted List for several years. His place was eventually taken by Eric Justin Toth, a child pornographer. I remember listening to the breaking news on the radio in my house, amazed at the announcement.
The September 11th attacks are significant not only for resulting lives lost, but because of its far reaching political and social effects. Because of these attacks, the War on Terror began, organized crime was given less attention by the FBI in favor of focusing more on terrorism, and airport security became the mild (but perhaps necessary?) annoyance that it is today. Many nations, as a result of this attack, pledged their efforts in aiding the United States in its War on Terror and toughening anti-terrorist legislation. After twelve years, it remains debatable whether these approaches were completely effective, the death of Osama bin Laden notwithstanding (although a certain black politician who currently occupies the oval office spun the victory as somehow being proof that he was a sufficient leader).
After these many years, America has come back stronger than it was before. We are a very different society now, but we have learned to be resilient in the face of danger. The Twin Towers have been rebuilt, further symbolizing America's capacity for endurance, for toughness, for healing. Though some have forgotten why we still fight abroad, I will not forget. I was a mere lad when the attacks happened, but I learned of it in my later years. I've seen the pictures, the documentaries, and one day I will read the books and watch the films.
I could go on and write about how this event was handled in a certain Marvel comic book, or how the creators of Adventures in Odyssey had to live through the attacks in the middle of recording of the Novacom Saga. I could go into the songs and films inspired by or having even a little to do with the events of September 11th, 2001. But out of respect for the occasion, I will refrain. Instead, I will say this: Remember. Always remember.
Image courtesy of theblaze.com