News/Op-Ed: 20 Years Ago Today, The World Changed In Ways We Will Never Forget

by Eric Torres, Editor-in-Chief

As the world commemorates the 20th anniversary of the most horrific terrorist attack in U.S. history, we remember those who were lost on that tragic day and also thank those who ensure that it never happens again.

Photo by KSAT

Twenty years ago, on September 11, 2001, planes hijacked by members of Al-Qaeda, an Islamic terrorist group, crashed into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., with a fourth plane that was suspected to have been heading to the White House, or the Capitol Building, crashing in rural Pennsylvania. 

Nearly three thousand people lost their lives that morning. This figure includes citizens of 77 different countries, countless American citizens and 441 heroic New York first responders. Even today, 9/11 remains a touchy subject for Americans, and combined with the strife in Afghanistan, many look back on these events with anger and political resentment. 

It is important, however, to look back at these horrific events, separated by 20 years, through a different lens, one of gratitude. 

The United States of America has not suffered another major terrorist attack of the same magnitude since that day. Although we are not completely free from the specter of terror, the brave, hard-working men and women in U.S. defense and intelligence have mitigated threats over the last two decades.

Furthermore, the American military, which has spent the last 20 years in the Middle East, has also worked extremely hard to combat terrorism in the region, which in turn has helped ensure safety and security in the United States. Thousands of American military lives and countless more civilian lives have been lost in the Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan in post-9/11 wars. Last week, 13 more brave servicemen and women lost their lives as the U.S. left Afghanistan.

Beyond that, it is important to remember that we, as Americans, live in a country where many people dedicate their lives to ensure our safety. This is something that many Americans unintentionally take for granted, due to the fact that there is not really a highly societal threat at present. The lack of awareness and gratitude toward U.S. military and intelligence apparatuses stems from the great job they do everyday.

Next time, when someone mentions 9/11, or the mess in the Middle East, instead of reacting in an analytical or political manner, react with gratitude for those who work to preserve the safety of this great nation.

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