Remembering 9/11

It’s hard to believe it’s been 12 years since that horrifying day when terrorists slammed planes into New York City’s World Trade Centre, the Pentagon and a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Sept. 11 is one of those dates where people of age recall precisely where they were when they heard the devastating news.

Nearly 3,000 people lost their lives that day, which many have described as a bleak turning point in society as well – we live with the impact of 9/11 in so many ways today. It’s one of those events in history that we will never really move on from.

Immediate responses to 9/11 included greater focus on home life and time spent with family, higher church attendance and increased expressions of patriotism such as the flying of flags across the nation.

Today, the 9/11 memorial in New York City is visited by thousands everyday – a testament to how impactful this event was. The Memorial’s twin reflecting pools are each nearly an acre in size and feature the largest manmade waterfalls in the North America.

The names of every person who died in the 2001 and 1993 attacks are inscribed into bronze panels edging the Memorial pools, and it’s a powerful reminder of the largest loss of life resulting from a foreign attack on American soil and the greatest single loss of rescue personnel in American history.

Such terrorist violence has been, to a degree, witnessed in other parts of the world, but this really was the first time such a horrendous attack took place in North America.

Remnants of the attacks remain today – people in general are perhaps more suspicious, more fearful and more sensitive to news of potential threats to national security. Border securities are tighter, even something relatively routine as flying is certainly more of a security hassle which is understandable and overall, much more patience is required.

Today, the public was invited to join Red Deer Emergency Services and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) for a Memorial March ceremony at City Hall to honour all firefighters and police officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

And earlier this year, Battalion Commander Richard ‘Pitch’ Picciotto was the keynote speaker the Mac & Cheese Charity Luncheon, hosted by the Rotary Clubs of Red Deer.

He was the highest-ranking firefighter to survive the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. Picciotto was in a stairwell in the North Tower when it collapsed He was buried in the rubble for more than four hours before being rescued.

He has written a book about the tragedy entitled Last Man Down: A Firefighter’s Story of Survival and Escape from the World Trade Center.

It was a message of inspiration and really brought the event to local folks’ attention once again. It brought it home.

Hopefully the events of 9/11 – and the loss that day represents — will never fade from our collective memory.

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