Three years ago, through Sea Cadets, I was asked to give a speech on 9/11. We preformed a color guard, a flag ceremony, and the national anthem at The Tyler Mall in Riverside, CA, and at Bass Pro Shops in Victoria Gardens, CA. Below is a copy of the original speech I delivered that day. I was sixteen.
When I first began researching for this speech, I must admit; I didn’t know very much. I simply new that on 9/11 the World Trade Center had collapsed due to a terrorist attack, and that was the extent of my knowledge.
But it was so much more than that.
On September 11th, 2001, Al Queda terrorists hijacked four passenger jets on a suicide mission to destroy The World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the Capital building in Washington D.C. Three of the jets succeeded; two crashing into the World Trade Center and one into the side of the Pentagon. The fourth was the only one to miss its target as the passengers attempted to take control of the plane but ultimately crashed it in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
There were no survivors. Approximately 2,977 people died that day.
Our country was shaken. We had been violently awakened to a new reality, and our comfort and sense of security had been ripped from our grasp.
We realized that we weren’t as invincible as we thought we were. The United States could still be hurt, and we remembered that we could always use more help. So we took this new information and, with humility, learned from it.
Now, to state a few changes, there is more security when passengers board planes. The government has authority to listen to phone-calls and read e-mails. And there were new alliances created with other countries who were facing similar threats.
Now as the next generation, we have to take note that history does repeat itself. Our eyes should be opened by tragedies like 9/11 to realize that we as a country don’t have it together. Not in a way that this realization discourages us, but so that we can use it as motivation to fix things and make changes for the better.
That is why we’ve come together this September 11, 2011; ten years after. To remember the day we were shaken and brought together as a nation to become wiser and stronger through these experiences. We mustn’t allow ourselves to forget the tragedy that happened that day or else those 2,977 that died would have given their lives in vain. No, let us not forget. But let’s learn and become a better nation through it. Thank you.
By Rebekah E. Koontz