“Thousands of lives were suddenly ended by evil, despicable acts of terror. The pictures of airplanes flying into buildings, fires burning, huge structures collapsing, have filled us with disbelief, terrible sadness, and a quiet, unyielding anger.
“America was targeted for attack because we’re the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world. And no one will keep that light from shining.”
These words were proclaimed by former President George W. Bush in his 8:30 PM evening address to the nation following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.
It was a day that most Americans alive today will never forget. In fact, ask almost anyone, and they’ll tell you exactly where they were when they heard that two planes, hijacked by Islamic terrorists, had hit the World Trade Center in New York City, New York.
The first plane, American Airlines Flight 11, was flown into the North Tower at 8:46 AM. The second, United Airlines Flight 175, hit the South Tower at 9:03 AM.
But the Twin Towers weren’t the only targets that day.
American Airlines Flight 77 was also hijacked and subsequently flown into the Pentagon in Arlington County, Virginia, at 9:37 AM killing 184 innocent people.
The fourth flight, United Airlines Flight 93, was the only one that failed to reach its target.
After their plane was hijacked, some of the brave heroes on Flight 93 called family members, who told them about the other attacks. The 40 courageous Americans on that plane decided to fight back. These Americans prayed the Our Father and recited Psalm 23, and then stormed the cockpit.
The terrorists, rather than relinquish control, crashed the plane into the ground in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
The terrorist’s intended target: the White House or the U.S. Capitol building.
You’ll learn all about the terrorist attacks of September 11 in a new Drive Thru History Special. The episode, “9/11: Dave Stotts Looks Back at September 11th Twenty Years Later,” is an impressive and moving documentary hosted by Dave Stotts that tells the story of 9/11, both its tragedies and its triumphs.
You’ll hear the courageous story of Rick Rescorla, who worked as a security officer for Morgan Stanley at the World Trade Center.
On September 11, Rescorla was in his office in the South Tower when the first plane hit the North Tower.
Shortly thereafter, the Port Authority made an announcement for everyone to stay put and stay calm. But Rescorla knew better.
As Stott narrates in the documentary, “Using a bullhorn, walkie talkie and cell phone, [Rescorla] immediately went to work getting people to evacuate down the stairwells from all 20 floors occupied by Morgan Stanley.
“In the midst of the chaos, Rick found time to call his wife, Susan. He told her, ‘Stop crying. I have to get these people out safely. If something were to happen to me, I want you to know I’ve never been happier. You’ve made my life.’”
Rescorla was last seen on the 10th floor of the South Tower. Heading up.
Shortly thereafter, the tower collapsed. Rick was declared dead three weeks later.
“In the end, Rick Rescorla is credited with saving 2,687 lives on 9/11. Only 13 Morgan Stanley employees didn’t make it out,” Stott narrates.
In 2019, Rick posthumously received the Presidential Citizen’s Medal from former President Donald Trump, which was presented to his wife, Susan, at the White House.
The virtue of fortitude became common on September 11, 2001. Hundreds of heroes, from Rick Rescorla, to the hundreds of emergency personnel who ran into danger and gave their lives to save others, to those on Flight 93, became selfless and self-sacrificing.
On this 20th anniversary of 9/11, we resolve to never forget their valor and love.
“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).
Photo from Shutterstock.