Originally Published: September 10, 2010 10 p.m.
Who in America can forget this day nine years ago?
It was barely past dawn in the West. People getting ready for work, with an eye on the morning news, thought first that a pilot had strayed from his flight path and crashed into the north tower of the World Trade Center in New York City - an accident. But the horror that was unfolding before our eyes thrust us into stark reality when, within minutes, a second plane crashed into the World Trade Center's south tower. A little more than an hour later, a third plane dove into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. At precisely the same time, 10:10 a.m., a fourth aircraft crashed into a Pennsylvania field. At 10:28 a.m., the ordeal that had begun at 8:45 a.m. Eastern Standard Time crescendoed when both Trade Center towers collapsed.
The memories of seeing people running for their lives from the towers - those who were able to get out of the buildings before they came crumbling down - are scorched in our memories and hearts forever. The recollection of the hole in the Pentagon will not fade. The image of the plane down in Pennsylvania stays with us.
All of America, and much of the world, grieved the loss of thousands of lives in this attack on American soil by terrorists affiliated with al-Qaida that lasted only a few hours. Thoughts of that day continue to evoke strong emotion, no matter whether we are New Yorkers whose lives the tragedy struck so closely or Arizonans who had to helplessly watch on television, in fright and from afar, in shock that such a thing could happen to our country.
Americans have a great way of healing and pulling together to help each other, no matter if it's a neighbor who has lost a loved one or if it's an attack that has left a gaping cavity in one of this nation's finest cities. That's what we did in the days that followed this tragedy.
No, we won't forgive the terrorists who wrought such a travesty on Sept. 11, 2001, but we mustn't blame those who certainly are not of that ilk.
That a pastor in Florida would want to burn the Quran on his church grounds on Sept. 11, 2010, is unconscionable. Hate breeds hate. This act of vengeance would do exactly that and more.
And that wouldn't be America.