In the past 50 years, we've had two major events that have shaken the core values and security of our great nation. Both those events have radically altered our way of life and altered everything we, as Americans, are.
On a sunny Dallas day in November 1963, three shots rang out and killed the pride and hope of a generation. The assassination of John F. Kennedy led to major social and economic developments that changed the ever-idealistic dream that existed. Kennedy's death shocked to our cores those of us who were part of what is known as the baby boomer generation.
Ten years ago today, we went to work thinking only of the big football game coming up the next weekend, or worrying about our commute and the day's work. Suddenly, at 8:45 a.m., a hijacked plane collided with the North tower of the World Trade Center. Most of us heard it at first only as a shaky rumor, before ultimately turning on our televisions and seeing the horrible truth of the situation - we saw a passenger airline full of innocent civilians driving headlong into one of the twin towers. As we sat there in shock, our work and other commitments forgotten, a second plane struck the other tower. Then reports came in of another plane striking the Pentagon.
Enemies whom the average American knew nothing about killed almost 3,000 American civilians in a single, terrifying morning.
Over the next few days and endless news cycles showing the catastrophic damage from the attacks, the images of the towers falling were seared into our brains.
In the weeks to follow, the realization that our perceived immunity as the world's greatest superpower had been shattered caused people, and especially businesses, to recoil.
Business has never recovered from the events of Sept. 11, which in turn has helped lead us into the economic distress we are experiencing today.
But sadder even than the state of our economy is the senseless loss of so much life. Today, we would honor the memories of those who died for no reason except that they were in the wrong place at the wrong time and we honor the brave men and women who sacrificed their lives to try and save some of those 3,000 souls.
Moving forward, we should continue to mourn the loss of life and honor the sacrifices of those who entered the doomed towers to help. But also, as Americans we need to remember the strength America once felt, and remember that while some across the world may hate us for what we are, America is the greatest nation on Earth.
We cannot give in to terror and live our lives in fear. The 3,000 Americans who died ten years ago deserve better than that.