20 Years of Never Forgetting


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NEW YORK, NY – SEPTEMBER 11: The ‘Tribute in Light’ memorial lights up lower Manhattan near One World Trade Center on September 11, 2018 in New York City. The tribute at the site of the World Trade Center towers has been an annual event in New York since March 11, 2002. Throughout the country services are being held to remember the 2,977 people who were killed in New York, the Pentagon and rural Pennsylvania in the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Jackie Vaks, Reporter

On September 11th, 2001, the sun had risen just like any normal day. But at 8:46 am, life as a New Yorker would never be the same. Life as an American would never be the same. Our country was attacked on its own soil. Two planes crashed into the world trade center just minutes apart. Any New Yorker can describe exactly where they were, what they were doing, who they were with the moment they had found out, and the pure feeling of shock. This unimaginable nightmare had now become a reality for all. Every day life was forever changed. 

This upcoming September 11th will now mark twenty years since this tragic event. The day started out completely normal. Some even say that it was one of the most beautiful days New York has had in weeks. Thousands of New Yorkers on their way to their city jobs, thousands of people getting ready to travel; never knowing what was to come ahead of them. 19 Al Qaeda terrorists were spread throughout American airports ready to attack. At around 8 am, the passengers of American Airlines flight 11 were getting ready to head their way to Los Angeles from Boston. After takeoff, the terrorists hijacked the plane, giving the passengers on board 45 minutes to say goodbye to their loved ones. Eventually, this plane went on to crash into the North World trade center building. The plane hit floors 93-99, leaving everyone on the floors above trapped. American Airlines flight 175 departed from Boston as well and was also heading towards Los Angeles. Minutes after their departure, the terrorists hijacked their plane too. In under an hour, the plane crashed into the South world trade center building, hitting floors 75-85. The crashes being only 20 minutes apart, helped Americans understand that this wasn’t an accident; America was truly under attack. 

American Airlines flight 77 was on its way to Los Angeles, departing from an airport right outside of Washington, D.C. Hijackers aboard Flight 77 crashed the plane into the western façade of the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., killing 59 aboard the plane and 125 military and civilian personnel inside the building. At this time, Government buildings such as the White House and US Capitol Building had been evacuated. United Airlines Flight 93 with 44 people aboard, took off from Newark International Airport en route to San Francisco. It had been scheduled to depart at 8:00 am, around the time of the other hijacked flights. After passengers and crew members aboard Flight 93 contacted friends and family and learned about the attacks in New York and Washington, they knew they had to do something. These brave passengers started fighting back the hijackers and in response, hijackers deliberately crashed the plane into a field in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, killing all 44 passengers and crew aboard. This plane was heading towards the White House. 

By this point, America was in total chaos. Our president at the time George W. Bush was in Florida visiting an elementary school, listening to them read and sing for him. A secret service agent interrupted and whispered into his ear “A second plane hit the second tower. America is under attack.” Millions of Americans and people all over the world watched as both twin towers collapsed, the Pentagon burned, and thousands of police officers and firefighters made huge efforts to save survivors while putting themselves in harm’s way. We lost 3,000 innocent Americans that day. Average people that were going about their day, now gone because of a major terrorist attack on our country. They were there at that time, by chance, and they died because of something that had nothing to do with them. All of the victims suffered and passed away for something they had nothing to do with, just for other people’s games of power.

On that tragic day, my family had lost someone very close to them. My aunt Lyudmilla Ksido was in the North Tower on the 97th floor during the time of the attacks. She made sure she was early to work that day, because of the promotion she just received days before. Her office moved up 10 floors and she was now a supervisor of Accenture. Her husband had dropped her off just 20 minutes before the first plane hit the North Tower. By the time he heard the news, he was already across the Brooklyn Bridge, and turning around was not an option because of the chaos going on. Lyudmilla was a very strong woman that faced many hardships in her life. She arrived in this country from the Soviet Union in 1979, on the heels of a horrible tragedy. Her first husband and brother were killed in a plane crash on their way to get immigration papers for the trip. “How is it possible that my uncle and father died in a plane crash, and my mother died from a plane crash?” This is the question my father was asked by his cousin on the night of the attacks. That thrilling question will now haunt him forever, and will never be explainable. Lyudmilla and the other 3,000 other victims did not deserve to have their lives brutally taken from them.

9/11 is a day all Americans alive at the time will remember forever. It is a day where Americans were attacked, and innocent people died. The children of the time that barely remember what happened are now functioning adults. This year’s senior class was not even born yet when this tragedy happened. The education around 9/11 is very poor, and students today aren’t as educated on the topic as they should be. Growing up in New York, I was able to hear countless amounts of first-hand accounts from my teachers, parents, and etc. Completing my first year here at West Boca has shown me how schools in other states don’t really talk about it. We spoke about it very subtly in my English class and moved on. I think it’s very important to educate the youth on the tragedies of this event, to help make sure the legacy of the victims are never forgotten.