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Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Columns

The best of the U.S. emerges on 9/11


Sept. 11, 2001.

Now etched in history and our minds, Sunday marked 15 years since the attacks that killed 2,977 people. It was one of the most well-orchestrated and funded terror attacks on U.S. soil.

As an older student, I remember that day well, but many in the UH community may have been too young for this to be nothing more than a historical event. They should research about that day and help future generations remember those who died.

What a lot of people don’t remember, or realize, is that the day’s impact was felt beyond New York.

Todd Beamer, a passenger on Flight 93, is one of the many notable heroes of that day. The account manager at Oracle Corporation tried to place a call, but was transferred to customer service when the hijacking happened.

He relayed as much information as he could to the operator, hoping that someone could intervene. After a while, Beamer and multiple passengers decided to overcome the hijackers.

The last words the operator heard him say was, “Let’s roll.” These words, which have been immortalized since the story became public, is a perfect statement in what U.S. has stood for since these attacks.

Beamer, whose wife was pregnant with their third child and did so much traveling because of his job, was faced with a dire situation. In that moment, he took action and showed everyone what a true hero is.

The flight, which was diverted to Washington D.C. crashed on an open field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. There were no survivors.

Back at ground zero, Wells Crowther, a 24-year-old equities trader known as “the man in the red bandanna,” was on the 104th floor when the south tower was struck.

Instead of saving himself, he went back into the building with firefighters and saved more than a dozen people.

Just before he started to rescue strangers, he called his mother and left a voicemail: “Mom, this is Welles. I want you to know that I’m OK,” Crowther said.

Crowther’s body was later found in a stairwell. He was heading back upstairs. There is no greater sacrifice than giving your life for your fellow man.

Now, this day is slowly becoming a part of our history and being treated like a long lost chapter. People are dealing with the effects of that day, so let’s not let it go.

Thousands of soldiers died fighting a war in Iraq and Afghanistan as a direct result of this attack. Many people who were downtown in the towers, working or responding to the attacks were exposed to carcinogens. They are now at a high risk of cancer.

There are countless people still suffering.

We cannot get complacent again and forget where we started. Osama Bin Laden knocked us in the dirt on the day he decided to attack us. But out from the dust rose some of the greatest people our country has ever seen, and a promise for the country’s bright future.

This week, let’s remember the people in New York, the Pentagon and Pennsylvania who were not only killed in the attack but also those who tried to help in any way, shape or form.

It’s important that those who are too young to remember what happened know that, although we may be 15 years past this tragedy, we won’t put it behind us.

Opinion editor Frank Campos is a media production senior and can reached at [email protected]

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