Side Note: I am a horrible writer, but I hope you enjoy this little article about a huge and tragic event in our nation's history. Thank you for taking the time to read this, and I would welcome any comments you may have on this piece!
It was a beautiful, sunny fall morning in the eastern US, and a routine flight day for
passengers and employees of American Airlines Flight 11. The 81 passengers aboard a Boeing 767 took off from Boston-Logan International Airport, headed to Los Angeles. Fifteen minutes later, at 8:14, everyone was aware that 5 passengers have hijacked the aircraft, and flight attendants call for help. During the next few hours and days, ordinary citizens would bond together to help those affected by the attack, yet they would have no time to personally react to the tragedy at hand. Courage is not something we can plan or prepare for, as it is an action that occurs in the moment of time.
Two people on Flight 93 and Flight 11 were instrumental in helping lead the resistance towards the terrorists: Todd Beamer, a passenger on United Flight 93, and Betty Ong, a Flight Attendant on American Flight 11. Betty Ong helped treat her coworker’s and passenger’s injuries, as well as informing dispatchers who the terrorists were. Her work helped jumpstart the FBI investigation. Betty had to quickly react to the events that were unfolding before her. She did not have time to cry or deal with her personal circumstances. She had to live up to the fact that over 70 people depended on her decisions, and she needed to do something about the
situation, even though she knew that the chances of everyone losing their lives were very high.
Meanwhile, onboard United 93, terrorists started to wreak havoc and cause an uproar in the cabin. Passenger Todd Beamer formed a group of men to fight against the terrorists and attempt to regain control of the jet. He was eventually able to gain control and kill the terrorists, but unfortunately, he was not able to pilot the aircraft, and crashed the jet into a field.
Down on the ground, citizens and first responders arrived at the scene, helping victims and searching for survivors beneath the rubble. Unclear of America’s future and the situation that had just occurred, they worked for days trying to recover anyone they could, with no pay involved. Not one person in the US (besides the terrorists) had any idea what was happening that fateful day.
At Ground Zero, many First Responders and Citizens alike responded to the scene and helped save hundreds of lives. In the building, managers and employees worked hard to get everyone down to safety. Citizens, unlike police officers had to face their fears to help their fellow citizens. First responders are told to be prepared for anything, but average citizens did not have time to respond to the events that unfolded, except for the fact that they needed to help those involved in the attack.
On that fateful day, thousands of lives were lost, America’s reputation was endangered, the future was unknown, yet many people had courage to stand up and help those in need. Courage is doing something that may frighten you, even when you do not want to do it or when it is hard. The rescuers on September 11" did not have time to think about how they would react, they simply did it.
An example of this heroism can be found in men like Welles Crowther and Rick
Rescorla. Welles Crowther was an equities trader whose office was in the South Tower. He went up the staircase when everyone was going down. He was only 24 and wanted to help save as many lives as he could. Going up that staircase had to take a lot of courage. He helped many get down from the 78" floor Sky Lobby to safety and died while going back up with some firefighters.
Rick Rescorla was a security guard that morning, who helped the elderly and disabled get to safety. He had organized emergency drills for everyone in the building monthly. Due to this training, 2,700 people were able to safely evacuate the south tower in less than 15 minutes! Rick was last seen singing in the lobby to comfort all those evacuating. Rick had a lot of courage to stay back and help those who needed help at the time.
A courageous person puts first others, and many did that day when they could have run home to their family. Instead, they died saving others’ lives. The 9/11 attacks are something that we all can learn from as a sad day for America. The unplanned courage displayed during that fateful morning, 18 years ago today by First Responders and Citizens alike was unprecedented. The citizens showed courage in the moment by helping others, mainly being strangers, through the most tragic event in our country’s history. The citizen-made heroes that saved many lives that fateful day all had one thing in common: courage.
Alot changed on that fateful day: families were ripped apart, the skyline of New York City felt empty, and America was bruised forever. Around 2,606 people were known to have perished that fateful day, and over 6,000 people were injured by the attacks. More and more, first responders are dying from cancer caused by the extreme toxicity found at Ground Zero, as the effects of 9/11 have not ceased yet. May we never forget what took place on that beautful, sunny, and tragic September day.
You can watch the 9/11 Memorial Ceremony on most news networks, or at the link below. Thank you for taking the time to read this article. May 9/11 never be forgotten!