Sept. 11, 2001, is a day permanently etched in history. 9-11 carries profound meaning for many people and stands in infamy along with events like Pearl Harbor and the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr.
The attacks on 9-11 resulted in a total of 2,996 fatalities. Among those were the victims on the four planes, civilians working in the towers and on the ground, military personnel and civilians in the Pentagon, and first-responders to the scenes. It is believed that at least 200 people in the World Trade Center fell or jumped to their deaths from the burning towers because rescue was improbable at or above points of impact on the towers.
Along with the World Trade Center primary towers, many other buildings in the area were destroyed or badly damaged from the attack. Many buildings were condemned. The Pentagon suffered serious damage as well.
Thousands of first responders and civilians entered the affected buildings to search for or help people exit the carnage. As of 2010, it is believed that more than 800 of these responders have also died, some say from illnesses related to their heroic efforts.
While the world is quick to focus on the extensive damage and loss of life that ensued as a result of this terrible day, it also is important to focus on the survivors and those who risked their own lives to save people from burning and collapsing buildings. There are a number of ways to honor the legacy of these brave people.
• Establish a memorial at your home, in a neighborhood park or at a place of worship. While many memorials exist, there is certainly room for more memorials devoted to the heroes of Sept. 11.
• Host a family get-together on or around Sept. 11. Celebrate the life of those people who were lost on that day and focus on the positive memories.
• Initiate a scholarship fund in memory of a lost relative or friend. Many businesses or even the place of employment of the deceased may be willing to contribute money to the effort. This way the individual’s name will live on and be associated with something positive for years to come.
• Volunteer time at a firehouse in the area or with an EMT unit. Volunteer EMTs and fire fighters are in short supply. Becoming a part of one of these units enables people to help others.
• Survivors can share their stories with school children or others, imparting knowledge about the events as they unfolded. This is a strong lesson in American history and bravery.
• Make a donation to a charity that offers financial support to those impacted by the events of 9-11. Be sure to check out the charity to ensure that funds are appropriated properly.
• Plan a visit to downtown New York City to see the progress that has been made in rebuilding the area, and visit the memorial that has opened to honor those who lost their lives.
While Sept. 11, 2011, will live in infamy as a traumatic and horrific moment in American history, people can focus on the positive aspect of the heroes and find ways to honor their memories.