Ground Zero at the site of the World Trade Center's Twin Towers in August 2005
We’ll never forget the horrific images of the 9/11 attacks, but these are five simple ways to remember the victims and maintain the compassionate spirit of the days after.
Eleven years ago today, we watched in horror as two hijacked planes were steered into New York City’s iconic Twin Towers nearly 20 minutes apart, reducing both to rubble. It was the first in a series of terror attacks on this fateful day.
Another hijacked aircraft targeted the Pentagon, resulting in a fiery crash on its west side. A fourth hijacked plane believed to be aiming for either the White House or the Capitol Building was overtaken by some of its passengers, but ultimately crashed in a field south of Pittsburgh. In all, nearly 3,000 people died.
Despite the more than a decade that’s passed, these images remain vivid in our minds. As we continue to commemorate the somber events of this day, these are five simple ways to remember, reflect and keep alive the spirit of compassion and heroism that emerged immediately following the attacks.
1. Thank a first responder. Rescue personnel rushed into the collapsing Twin Towers as others rushed out to safety, and many gave their lives doing so. Paramedics, firefighters and police officers can’t hear “thank you” enough for what they do. If you know one, remember to thank his or her spouse too.
2. Fly a flag. Outward symbols of patriotism soared to an all-time high post-9/11. The Stars and Stripes usually make widespread appearances for Memorial Day, 4th of July, 9/11 and Veterans Day, but what about all the other days in between?
3. Give back to your community. Perhaps now more than ever, a spirit of compassion and generosity needs to be revived in our communities. Whether you volunteer your time or make a donation, you’ll be making a difference.
4. Support the memorials. Help maintain and support the memory of the many victims of 9/11 by visiting the memorials dedicated to them. If you can’t make the trip, donations are also accepted online or via text message.
5. Be inspired. Stories of heroism and survival abound. The passengers of United 93 serve as a poignant reminder of that ordinary people are capable of extraordinary things. In her book, Unmeasured Strength, survivor Laura Manning shares her experience during and after the attacks and how it affected her physically and changed her personally.