- The Washington Times - Monday, March 11, 2002

For countless millions of Americans, September 11, 2001 started out like like just about any other day, eating breakfast, getting the children off to school, rushing out the door to catch the train to work, battling rush-hour traffic. All of that would change forever around 8:46 A.M., when that first hijacked jumbo jet struck the first of the World Trade Center towers. Less than 20 minutes later, another hijacked plane hit the second tower. Over the next few hours, the nation would witness an unimaginable series of horrors both skyscrapers engulfed in flames; people trapped on the upper floors jumping to their deaths; the towers collapsing about 30 minutes apart; pedestrians in Lower Manhattan running away from those hundred-foot-high clouds of smoke and other debris at the end of the block.
While all of this was unfolding, Americans learned that another hijacked plane had crashed, one had hit the Pentagon, which was on fire. About 20 minutes later, word came in that a fourth plane, which terrorists apparently wanted to crash into the White House or the Capitol, had instead crash-landed in a field in Shanksville, Pa., killing everyone aboard. By lunchtime, the enormity of the horror was readily apparent. Nearly 3,000 Americans plane passengers, civilians who had the misfortune to be at work at the Pentagon or the Twin Towers or heroic rescue workers who sacrificed their own lives in an effort to save others lay dead.
Within one or two days, law enforcement officials had identified all 19 of the terrorists who had been aboard the four doomed planes and would know who was to blame for the horrors which occurred September 11 terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda terrorist organization, and the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, which gave bin Laden and his confederates refuge. On Oct. 7, President Bush ordered the start of a devastating series of retaliatory attacks which would put al Qaeda on the run and would drive the Taliban from power by year's end.
Even so, last week's firefights, which saw eight American servicemen perish in combat in eastern Afghanistan, provide a salient reminder that the barbarians who struck this country on September 11 are far from finished, and that we will be waging war against terrorism for years to come. Americans rose to the occasion when horror struck on September 11, they can be counted on to do so as we settle in for the long haul.


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