Almost two decades ago, the way the United States viewed the world was changed.
On Sept. 11, 2001 — 18 years ago — terrorists hijacked four planes with the goal of causing as much damage as they could.
The number of lives they altered in just mere minutes is uncountable.
However, they directly impacted the lives of the 246 people who were on the planes, the 2,606 people in both the towers of the World Trade Center, the 343 firefighters, 60 police officers, and eight paramedics who all rushed into the Twin Towers only to never come back out.
And all of their families.
The lives of all of the other first responders who flocked to the scene for days, weeks and months after, searching with every ounce of hope to pull out survivors or recover the victims.
Then there are the millions of people who witnessed it in person and on television, who relive the horror every time they look up to the New York City skyline and see its new shape, one that is much different than it was 18 years ago.
There are kids in school today who weren’t alive when the planes plowed into the World Trade Center in New York City.
There are children in school today who didn’t experience the helplessness and sadness as we watched the towers tumble.
They also didn’t experience the way this nation came together as one. There were no red states or blue states. Lines at blood drives stretched around city blocks.
It is precisely because they weren’t alive that we must continue to remember the events of that day.
It is part of who we are as a nation.