As citizens of the United States, we should all take a moment today (Sept. 11) to remember the attacks of 2001 that killed so many of our fellow American citizens.
Today, put aside your political differences and … just remember.
Like those in New York, I was just preparing to head out the door for my daily commute when the events began to unfold. Initially, commentators weren't speculating much on a terrorist attack, but pondering how a plane could have strayed into the first tower.
But as they debated, another plane crashed - right before our very eyes - into the second tower.
At that moment, I remember shouting out that we were under attack, and thinking that terrorists had just killed many thousands of our citizens.
As you read this, my nephews - Max Hill, of Lodi (U.S. Army), and Thomas Castles III, of Stockton (U.S. Marine Corps) - are also serving their countries and may soon be deployed into Iraq or Afghanistan. My brother-in-law - Capt. Justin Agostine (U.S. Army Commander A-Company, 40th Engineering Battalion) - is doing his third tour of duty in the Sadr City neighborhood of Baghdad. On Aug. 26, Justin lost one of his men and a very close friend - combat engineer Carlo Alfonso - to an Improvised Explosive Device in Baghdad's Sadr City. Two more of his men are currently at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, recovering from the loss of their legs during that attack. Proud soldiers serving their country in a post-9/11 world.
Nothing more dramatically reminds me of the magnitude of that day's events than simply reviewing some of the numbers:
• 19: the number of terrorists who carried out the attacks
• 23: the number of NYPD officers who were killed
• 200: the number of people who jumped to their deaths from the Twin Towers
• 246: the total number of crew and passengers who died aboard aircraft
• 341: the number of FDNY firefighters who were killed
• 2,603: the total number of people killed inside the Twin Towers
• 2,974: the total number of people killed in the 9/11 attacks
Take a moment today, to remember those who were lost, and those who continue to risk their own lives to ensure your freedom.
Ralph Cesena Jr.
Lodi Sunrise Rotary Club