In the book of Luke 22nd chapter, as Jesus broke bread with the Apostles at Passover, he said “Do this in remembrance of me”. It has been 16 years since September 11, 2001. No amount of ceremonies and monumentals has changed the fact that 19 terrorists got on 4 airplanes and used them to take the lives of 2,996 people representing over 90 countries.
The World Trade Center – the Twin Towers – housed 430 companies with up to 50,000 employees. There was an average of 140,000 daily visitors. 2,823 lives were lost in the Towers including those on the planes that crashed into them. The resulting fires were visible for 20 miles and burned underground for 69 days. The smoke from the fires were seen from the space station. Rescue and Recovery workers dug up debris at Ground Zero for 230 days. Of the 2,823 killed in the Towers, only 291 bodies were recovered intact. 1,616 death certificates were issued without a body. Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon resulting in the total loss of life of 189. Flight 93 crashed into a Pennslyvania field taking 44 lives.
There were over 6,000 injured. Over 3,000 children lost at least 1 parent including 1,300 orphans. 17 babies were born after 911 whose fathers had died in the attacks. Nearly ½ million New Yorkers have been diagnosed with PTSD including nearly 10,000 school children.
At 69 years old, Patricia Cushing, of New Jersey, took her first flight on the morning of Sept 11th. She had never been off the East coast before she boarded Flight 93. Hilda Marcin’s family fled Germany in 1929, when she was 7 years old, to escape Nazi persecution. She had lived in New Jersey ever since. On the morning of 9-11, she boarded Flight 93 to begin a new life with her daughter in California at the young age of 79. Two vintage wine tastings had lured Christian Adams, age 37, of Biebelsheim, Germany to the United States, his first trip in 5 years. As the deputy director of a trade group that promotes German wine exports, Adams was on his way from the first tasting in New York to the second in San Francisco, when he boarded Flight 93. It was rare for Adams to come to the States himself, the wine-making season in Germany coincides with the typically late September tasting dates. But, because of the Jewish holidays, the events were to be held earlier in the month than usual. Matthew Flocco, age 21, was a Navy weather officer stationed in the Pentagon. It was a non-combat assignment, a career stepping stone, in one of the safest places in the world. Rosemary Chapa had worked in the Pentagon for 20 years. Her office had been moved into the newly renovated section just barely a month before. She was listed as missing. Master Sgt Max Beilke, 69, US Army (Ret) was drafted during the Korean War. He was officially the last American soldier to leave Vietnam in 1973. He was a civilian employee at the Pentagon working on veterans issues. His family thought he was “home safe” after Vietnam.
These and many others need to be remembered. While we memorialize them, we must never forget the 415 emergency workers and first responders who paid the ultimate sacrifice trying to rescue those who were stuck in the Twin Towers after the attacks. Be careful to teach your children the Facts, so that they will remember History correctly. May our God continue to bless us all.