September 11, 2021, is the twentieth anniversary of the horrific terrorist attack on several targets in the United States that killed almost 3,000 people. A year after that attack, September 11 was made a national day of remembrance and mourning, known as Patriot Day, to honor the memory of those who were killed in the attack. Although this day is not an official, public holiday, the US flag is flown at half-staff on all US government buildings.
Fortunately, I had no family or close friends injured or killed in those attacks. Unfortunately, at least one family from my church lost a loved one at the Pentagon that day.
I imagine that most people who were teenagers and older remember where they were and what they were doing that day. I know that I certainly do.
September 11, 2001, started off as a normal Tuesday. I was headed to the Fairfax County Courthouse where I had a case in Circuit Court on the 5th floor of the Courthouse. Court was scheduled to start at 10:00 AM, but I always tried to get there plenty early to make sure I could get good parking and into the courtroom well before the judge would take the bench. That meant I was driving to the courthouse between 8:30 and 9:15.
I always listened to a talk/news radio station. So, I did hear some information on the radio about something happening in New York, but the details were sparse. I entered the courthouse and went to the courtroom on the 5th floor as usual, waiting for the judge to come on the bench and court to start at 10:00.
Either just before or just after the judge came on the bench, a deputy came out and told us the courthouse was closing – we all were toleave immediately. So, we all vacated the courtroom and went out in the hallway. When someone pressed the deputy for more information, he simply said the Pentagon had been attacked and the courthouse was closing.
Several of us went to the end of the hall on the 5th floor and looked out the windows in the direction of the Pentagon. I could see smoke billowing up on the horizon, which I surmised was coming from the Pentagon. Then, I went Io my car and drove home, as we had been told to do by the deputies at the courthouse.
I watched TV most of the rest of the day as coverage of the events unfolded as we all tried to make some sense of the events of the day. As we know, our country has been changed forever.
We all came together in a manner not seen since the days of World War II to fight a common enemy.
My, oh, my, how things have changed in 20 years. Does it take an attack by outside forces to bring us together? We don’t have to agree on everything, but we are “One Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all,” are we not?
So, on this twentieth anniversary of the terrorist attack, let’s all remember those who lost their lives as both a direct and indirect result of the attack, both the initial victims and all the first responders who have suffered and died as a result of this attack. May we remember what working together for the common good is and what we can accomplish when we do work together.
— Elden Sodowsky