On September 11, 2001, terrorists attacked the United States and killed nearly 3,000 people. This day will forever be remembered as a day of tragedy and loss.

September 11, 2001 is a day that will never be forgotten. It was a day of tragedy and horror for the United States. The 9/11 never forget quotes are some of the most famous lines from this tragic event.

Many of us began our days like everyone else twenty years ago: coffee, shower, and the morning news playing in the background. At my home on Scott Street in Paso Robles, I was getting ready for work. I was 22 years old at the time and had no real understanding of what a war or a terrorist attack was other than the fact that it did not occur on American territory.

September 11, 2001, altered everything, and it is just as essential for us to remember and never forget now as it was then.  

As we watched the horror and fear of the aftermath of the first aircraft smashing into the World Trade Center’s North Tower, trying to make sense of it all, a second plane emerged and slammed into the South Tower. I recall looking at the TV reporter’s face, trying to figure out what was going on, and I could see she was as terrified and perplexed as I was.

We’re going to get through this together, Atascadero

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It seemed as though the world had come to a halt at that point.

We didn’t have social media or mobile phones that could share movies or even take good pictures twenty years ago. We depended entirely on news sources to keep us informed about what was going on.

A third aircraft was said to have struck the Pentagon just outside of Washington, D.C., according to reports. The news channel alternated between news anchors who attempted to explain what we were seeing and feeling. I recall feeling their dread and not knowing what to say in their voice.

The South Tower fell 22 minutes after the crash of Flight 175, 56 minutes after the collision of Flight 175.

After afterwards, a fourth aircraft crashed in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. “We are under assault; this was not an accident; we are under a terrorist attack,” I recall hearing at this time.

We all watched in horror as individuals trapped in the North Tower attempted to leap from the famous buildings that we had seen, photographed, and formed our perceptions of New York City’s skyline.

We all held our breath and watched, paralyzed, powerless, and with tears streaming down our cheeks as a country. The frantic news coverage continued, with people fleeing for their lives through the streets, unsure of what they were fleeing from, while police, firemen, and first responders raced toward the scene, directing people to go as far as they could.

One hour and 42 minutes after the first hit of Flight 11, the North Tower of the World Trade Center collapsed. At the foot of the towers, the Marriott Hotel was also demolished.

As we continued to stare in amazement at what we had just seen, cries, shouts, and an indescribable sorrow filled the air and our hearts. 

People rushed past the reporter, who was now coated in soot. I have a clear recollection of her face, and I remember thinking how courageous she was for continuing to tell their tales, to experience the effect personally, and to share it with us. She was our eyes and ears, and she and her cameraman kept us all in touch. I recall her asking passers-by whether they were all right. I recall people swarming around one other, weeping and comforting one another. 

Five Pentagon floors collapsed 22 minutes later after a fire broke out 1 hour and 13 minutes after Flight 77 slammed into it.  

On the screen at the time, all you could see was lingering grey smoke that coated everyone and papers flying everywhere. 

The majority of us remained glued to our computers, attempting to contact loved ones who were on planes or who lived in the vicinity to check whether they were OK. You couldn’t get through because the phone lines were busy. I recall talking on the phone with my mother and then my father, both of whom were in Arizona at the time, trying to make sense of what we had all just seen over the course of what seemed like an eternity.

Later that day, our family was able to contact my sisters, who resided in the east. 

As a consequence of the aftermath of the towers falling, the 7 World Trade Center building next to the towers collapsed on September 11.

That day, almost 3,000 individuals perished, including our family, friends, coworkers, and ordinary heroes.

I went to Ground Zero a few years later, in 2003. As you entered lower Manhattan, you could sense the city’s sadness. Photos, messages, American flags, flowers, and clothes were strewn over the chain-link fence that surrounded the location. There were still missing posters of loved ones, and it seemed like we were going through a cemetery. I recall the unusually quiet for New York City, and seeing a lady kneeling and weeping as others gathered about sharing tales of loved ones lost on that terrible day.   

I could sense my appreciation for my younger brother, who had joined the US Marine Corps after the events of that day. I could recall listening to the news when our soldiers invaded Iraq earlier that year in March if I closed my eyes. My brother’s unit was one of the first to arrive; we spent weeks without hearing from him; it seemed like an eternity until he was eventually able to phone and tell us he was safe. 

I put my hand on the fence as I proceeded to go around the fenced area. I took a minute to reflect on the lives lost exactly where I was standing, as well as all of the families, New York citizens, and our country. I thought of our loved ones who enlisted in the military to defend our country, and I thought of our first responders who kept showing up even after losing members of their crew.

But I also recalled the news reporter who reported that day’s events. I owe a debt of gratitude to the lady who inspired me throughout her reporting and demonstrated true journalism. She recounted the tale of the individuals as they lived it, with no effort to analyze it. She was open and vulnerable. While she was frightened, she exhibited concern and compassion for others.  

Twenty years later, most of us remember it as if it was yesterday, and given the current state of the country, I am hopeful that we will be able to come together once again. May we remember all those who died that day, as well as those who died fighting for our liberties in the aftermath.

We must never forget. 

“It’s a remarkable story… of perseverance, survival, bravery, and love. This is the legacy of 9/11 for me.” Gédéon Naudet (Gédéon Naudet)

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September 11, 2001, Remember and Never Forget is a website that provides facts about 9/11. The site was created to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attack on the United States. Reference: 9/11 20th anniversary.

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