Twenty years ago, we watched in horror as America was attacked. The twin towers were destroyed by Muslim jihadists using airplanes filled with American passengers as their missiles. The Pentagon was attacked by these same America haters destroying the hopes and dreams of both people on the ground and those on that flight. And the fourth plane was taken down in a field in Pennsylvania with the last words heard outside its metal skin being “let’s roll” as passengers fought back saving the White House from the fate of the Pentagon and twin towers.
I was in traffic in DC when the news reported that the first tower was hit. My wife was traveling to Philadelphia on business, and we figured out that we were under attack before the second and third planes hit. Watching the second plane hit was a gut punch causing a combination of queasiness and anger. 2,977 innocent people died twenty years ago from these attacks. Those on the planes, those in the buildings and those law enforcement and fire department heroes who paid the ultimate price rescuing people as the Twin Towers collapsed around and eventually on top of them.
Countless more have died from the after effects of the rescue efforts due to inhalation of fumes and material in the air in the wake of the collapse. Families were ripped asunder and America had a massive hole in our hearts.
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Twenty years later, it is hard to remember the neighborhoods where every home flew an American flag, the businesses and office buildings that were draped in our flag, and the determination that enveloped our nation as we vowed to never forget.
2,231 American service members died in Afghanistan over those twenty years. Another 3,846 civilian contractors dies over the same period. In Iraq, another 4,586 American service members died. The cost of war was high. And just two weeks ago, thirteen of our best and bravest paid the final, ultimate price. Their names are etched on the hearts of America as they were working to help Americans and other allies who played a critical role in our efforts to get out of the country.
- Staff Sgt. Darin T. Hoover
- Sgt. Johanny Rosario Pichardo
- Sgt. Nicole Gee
- Cpl. Hunter Lopez
- Cpl. Daegan W. Page
- Cpl. Humberto A. Sanchez
- Lance Cpl. David L. Espinoza
- Lance Cpl. Jared M. Schmitz
- Lance Cpl. Rylee J. McCollum
- Lance Cpl. Dylan R. Merola
- Lance Cpl. Kareem M. Nikoui
- Navy corpsman Maxton W. Soviak
- Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Knauss
Today, America can be proud at the service of those who lost their lives in the defense of our nation in the war on terror, but also of those who lost limbs and were otherwise disabled. America can be proud of each who served honorably and willingly put themselves in harm’s way in the defense of liberty. America can be proud of the incredible families who suffered loss, endured the fear of the visit that no one wants and have continued to support our returning service members through personal nightmares that none of us can fully imagine.
While President Biden’s exit from Afghanistan has been a shameful disgrace, today we honor those who served, volunteers in the never ending defense of freedom, and the families that raised them. Your service mattered. Your sacrifice matters. America was safer for those twenty years because terrorism was fought over there, lessening terror attacks here. Nothing can replace the losses, but Americans for Limited Government just wants to take this twenty year demarcation of the attack on America that remains seared in our memory to say, We have not forgotten. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.
Richard Manning is President of Americans for Limited Government.
Cross-posted with The Daily Torch
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