Today marks the horrific day 20 years ago that almost 3,000 Americans were killed and more than 25,000 were injured in the attacks on the World Trade Centers in New York, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and the crash of United Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pa.
Commercial airliners hijacked by members of Al-Qaeda, who were Saudi Arabia nationals, were used to cause the death and devastation. American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into 1 World Trade Center and United Flight 175 hit 2 World Trade Center. The Pentagon was hit by American Airlines Flight 77. It is believed that Flight 93 was headed for the White House or the U.S. Capitol Building before passengers on board fought back against the hijackers.
There were 2,977 killed in the attack that resulted in an estimated more than $10 billion in damage to buildings, infrastructure and other property. The attacks are the single deadliest terrorist attack in the U.S., and the deadliest day for firefighters (343 killed) and police officers (72 killed).
There were hundreds of memorial events, to include those at sporting events, around the country in recent days. On Saturday, President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden were joined by former Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, and First Ladies Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama, in a service at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum at the site of the former World Trade Centers in lower Manhattan. Former President George W. Bush, who was president during the attacks, delivered a speech at the Shanksville memorial.
The 20th anniversary also comes after the U.S. endured a deadly departure from Afghanistan – the country in which Al-Qaeda based its operations prior to 9/11, and the country the U.S. invaded soon after 9/11. The U.S. would eventually track down Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, killing him on May 1, 2011, in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
A recent Pew Research Center survey finds that 69% of respondents say America failed in its mission in Afghanistan. The survey also found that 54% of respondents agreed with the decision to withdraw, and 42% opposed.
“With the Taliban now in control of Afghanistan, most Americans believe the situation in that country poses a security threat to the U.S., with 46% saying Taliban control represents a major threat and another 44% saying it is a minor threat. Republicans (61%) are far more likely than Democrats (33%) to view a Taliban-controlled Afghanistan as a major security threat,” noted an Aug. 31 Pew report.
Following are comments from members of Arkansas’ Congressional delegation.
U.S. Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark.
“In the aftermath of 9/11, Americans came together. We transcended differences and divisions to stand as one people, united in sorrow and pain, but also in resolve and purpose, pledging to move forward with a renewed sense of shared identity and rekindled compassion for each other. As we reflect on this solemn anniversary, we again commit to come together in a Day of Service to pay tribute to all those lost, injured or forever altered by the events of that terrible day. Through acts that build up our communities and strengthen the bonds of unity and patriotism that define us, we honor their memories and give back to the benefit of ourselves and the nation we are blessed to call home.”
U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark.
“On this 20th anniversary of 9/11 we remember the nearly 3,000 Americans who were taken from us on that terrible day. We also honor the thousands of veterans who fought to ensure that such an attack would never happen again. For many, this is an especially painful anniversary, but I urge those commemorating it to not only remember the anguish, but also the courage we saw on 9/11 and since. From the riders of Flight 93 who charged a cockpit and saved the Capitol, to the firefighters and police officers who ran into the burning towers of New York, to the countless men and women who volunteered to fight and avenge the attack, the heroes of 9/11 outnumbered the terrorists many times over. God bless them and God bless the victims of the attack. We shall never forget.”
U.S. Rep. Steve Womack, R-Rogers
“20 years ago, terrorists attacked our nation because of the freedom and ideals it embodies. We will always honor the innocent lives taken from us and the heroism shown in the immediate moments—and years—since that fateful day. The loss we relive is a reminder of everything we must never forget to protect. On this solemn anniversary, we hold our fallen and their families in our hearts and remember the unyielding resolve that carried us forward. United, we will always stand stronger. God bless America.”
U.S. Rep. French Hill, R-Little Rock
“The legacy of September 11 is two-fold. We need to remember to love one another and have a service heart, and we must remain vigilant against the evil that roams the world.”