Today is always a hard day.
I'm thinking of the passengers who were able to call loved ones from the doomed planes. What were those last conversations like? Were they calm? Were they frightened? Were they able to tell their family that they loved them? Did they know they were going to die?
I'm thinking of the passengers of United Flight 93. Did they know that their sacrifice would save lives? Did they know that they would die as real heroes? Did they know that their actions would make millions of people proud to call themselves Americans?
I'm thinking of the fire fighters, police officers and rescue workers who lost their lives while trying to save others' lives. What horrors did they witness as they sifted through the rubble? How did they press on while surrounded by so much destruction? Did they know that their bravery and courage would ultimately cost them their lives? Even if they did know their fate, would they still have rushed into the burning buildings?
Whenever I am confronted by the images and events of that day, I still find it hard to believe that there can be so much hate in the hearts of men. But I suppose history, unfortunately, provides too many examples not to believe that evil exists.
But there is opposition in all things. With all the evil in the world, there also exists an extraordinary amount of good. There is honesty and charity. There is kindness and friendship. There is love and laughter. There is evil, yes. But there is also good. So much good.
"Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America. These acts shatter steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve. America was targeted for attack because we're the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world. And no one will keep that light from shining. Today, our nation saw evil, the very worst of human nature, and we responded with the best of America, with the daring of our rescue workers, with the caring for strangers and neighbors who came to give blood and help in any way they could."
(from President George W. Bush's address to the nation on the evening of September 11, 2001)
To the men and women who lost and gave their lives nine years ago today, I offer my eternal love and gratitude. I honor your sacrifice and remember you always.