EDITORIAL: We all stood still that day

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 11, 2002

The images still haunt us. Every television channel, it seemed, was suddenly focused on the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City as a passenger plane had rammed into one tower. On-air reporters expressed dismay and disbelief, groping for understanding how such an accident could occur.

Then the second plane struck on live television. Perhaps such a soul-stirring event has not had such immediate impact since the Challenger space-shuttle disaster. Suddenly, it was all too clear – America was under attack.

Further evidence of this came with the attack on the Pentagon and the Flight 93 takeover. Quickly, though, heroes came forward. Flight 93’s passengers found the courage to foil the plan of those terrorists, giving their lives for their country in an almost unparalleled sacrifice. Endless numbers of people, both during and after the carnage in New York and Washington, helped one another. Thousands of people perished, yet millions of Americans stepped up to help, from school children raising funds across the nation for disaster relief to a hardy caravan of volunteers from the River Parishes, who gave free gumbo to Ground Zero workers.

Across America as well, while our righteous anger was manifested against those responsible, a new commitment to the ideals of America was forged.

The attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, galvanized America into a war which we carried through successfully. The attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 make all of us better appreciate what we have worked so hard to achieve – a nation of free people, endowed with the gifts of self-sacrifice, charity and courage.

Our nation’s Founding Fathers would have recognized in today’s patriots the same fierce determination to defend our hard-won freedoms and ideals as they evidenced in creating this nation, and to find those responsible.

We all stood still that day, but only for a moment. Then we went to work.