It is right that we should memorialize September 11th because it will forever be remembered as perhaps the greatest tragedy in our lifetime. On September 11, 2001, nearly 3,000 people died in less than 120 minutes as part of a single, yet complex act of terrorism. The memories of that fateful day are still burned into our minds. Jumbo jet airliners crashing into two icons of the New York skyline, the Pentagon in flames from a third airliner impact and a smoldering crater in Pennsylvania instead of a building because of the brave actions of Americans onboard. A day which witnessed people jumping from the World Trade Center towers to escape the flames, first responders rushing in to save lives with no thought of their own and the eventual disappearance of two massive towers which once overshadowed the NYC skyline. Memories which will not and should not be forgotten. Memories which tell a story of how morally depraved mankind really is when such evil is even possible.
September 11th must never be forgotten, but neither should September 12th. It was on this day and the days after, when decisions would be made to take military action against those responsible. Within the walls of the Pentagon, the White House and the Congressional buildings, a military campaign was being drafted to target those who had instantly become the most visibly recognized terrorists in the world through just a single act. A massive military campaign reaching far points of the globe with the goal of crushing terrorism, but at the cost of several thousand more American lives. Men and women across the U.S. military and government serving, sacrificing time and giving their lives for the security of our nation. September 11th should not be memorialized just for those who died on that horrible day 17 years ago, but also for those who gave their lives in the 6,209 days between now and then. Because their lives and the lives of their families would also become dramatically altered as a result of this catastrophic event.