Originally Published: September 10, 2011 10:29 p.m.
The innocence of dawn shattered 10 years ago when planes crashed into the Twin Towers in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and into an open field in Pennsylvania.
Our lives in America would change forever because of these heinous attacks on our own soil that left more than 3,000 people dead. Still vivid in our minds are the unbelievable images of the World Trade Center crumbling to the ground, a gaping hole in the Pentagon, and the remains of Flight 93 smoldering, even though its passengers had valiantly tried to thwart the aircraft's hijackers.
Sept. 11, 2001, was, indeed, an apocalyptic day for the United States and its citizens who never dreamed something like this could happen to us in the land of the free.
But it proved that this country is not immune from acts of hatred from our enemies, and at the same time, it was evidence that Americans are not thrown off balance very long.
Once we wiped the tears off our faces and moved past the denial, our resolve to remain strong came to the fore. From east to west and north to south, Americans refused to submit to the enemy and rallied to help our stricken fellow citizens. Truckloads of supplies and manpower set out to help victims and restore what we all lost on that fateful day.
Now, our country was put on alert two days ago for a new 9/11 bomb plot. Officials in Washington have been investigating unconfirmed reports that al-Qaida has plans to load a bomb in some kind of vehicle and target either New York City or our nation's capital around the 10th-year observance of the worst day in recent American history.
Intelligence sources said a small number of individuals may have gotten into the United States recently intending to carry out a scheme that has roots in the tribal areas of Pakistan along the Afghan border. They apparently obtained this information from the recent capture of a senior al-Qaida official in Pakistan.
Are we surprised by this threat? No. We have lived with it for 10 long years and we have risen above living in constant fear.
So, as we go about our day today, we must be as vigilant as ever, but we must not allow fearfulness to consume us. We must mourn the loss of so many innocent lives and remember them with heartfelt respect.
And, as we commemorate them in ceremonies across the land, the greatest tribute we can pay them is to hold tight to our resolve for unity and to stay strong in our face-off with those who would seek to destroy us.
That's the American way.