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Summary: We are in a time of crisis and calamity in our nation. In a swift attack, we were brought face to face with our mortality. No longer can we say “Those things only happen over there.” On September 11, 2001 we lost our innocence. America will be forever

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Introduction: On Tuesday, September 11, 2001 at 7:59 AM an American Airlines Jet Liner lifted its wheels from the tarmac at Boston’s Logan Airport. Only 5 of its 92 passengers had any idea of what was being set in motion. American Flight 11 was a routine daily flight heading for Los Angeles.

2 minutes later, at 8:01 AM United Flight 93, with 45 passengers aboard departed Newark, New Jersey with a final destination of San Francisco.

At 8:10 AM, American Flight 77 with 64 passengers lifted off from Washington’s Dulles Airport on its way to Los Angeles.

4 minutes later United Flight 175 carrying its 65 passengers left Boston’s Logan Airport to wing its way to Los Angeles.

For a short while, everything seemed to go well on each of these flights. Passengers were getting settled into their seats for a long flight. Flight Attendants were doing their best to accommodate each passenger. However, shortly after take-off, the passengers and crews lives were changed forever. Extremists armed with knives hijacked each plane. And even then, the real impact of what was happening did not occur to anyone other than the hijackers themselves.

You know the details. They have been brought before us in vivid images over the past 5 days:

At 8:48 AM EDT, American Flight 11, now being piloted by modern day Kamikaze pilots slammed into the North Tower of the 110-story World Trade Center leaving a gaping hole in its structure. Each of the planes, loaded with as much as 6,000 gallons of highly flammable jet fuel were to be used as “flying bombs.”

At 9:06 AM, United Flight 175 crashed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center. The world looked on in stun silence. But the barbaric attack was not finished.

At 9:43 AM, American Flight 77 was flown into the Pentagon, collapsing a section of the world’s largest office building.

At 9:55 AM, the doomed south tower of the WTC, still occupied by thousands of trapped workers collapsed. At 10:29 AM, the north tower would follow suit, showering 450,000 tons of debris onto the Manhattan streets below.

At 10:10 AM, United Flight 93 crashed into a field in Pennsylvania.

At 5:25 PM the 47-story WTC Building #7 collapsed.

To date, [September 22, 2001] there are 4,963 people missing and 152 dead who were connected with the World Trade Center. On American Flight 11, 92 were killed; on United Flight 175 there were 65 killed, 64 lost their lives on American Flight 77 and 45 were lost on United Flight 93. At the Pentagon, there are 125 unaccounted for, and presumed dead.

These events and statistics are staggering. Indeed, September 11, 2001 is a “day that will go down in infamy”. This is the most devastating attack on American soil in the 225-year history of our nation.

We have all been sobered by the events of the past few days. I’m sure that a number of you have realized that many of the things were have thought were so important, aren’t important at all, or at least not near as important as we thought they were.

We are in a time of crisis and calamity in our nation. In a swift attack, we were brought face to face with our mortality. No longer can we say “Those things only happen over there.” On September 11, 2001 we lost our innocence. America will be forever changed.


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