‘We are survivors’


For each of us, there is an event in our lifetime that is etched forever in our memory.

September 11, 2001, was a day of infamy.

We all have stories of where we were and what were doing when hijacked airplanes deliberately crashed into the World Trade Center (WTC) and Pentagon, and Flight 93 crashed into an empty field in Pennsylvania.

Our nation, and the world, was transfixed.

Newspaper headlines around the world spoke of the four coordinated terrorist attacks carried out by al-Qaida that morning.

Those attacks killed 2,977 people from 93 nations. In New York, 2,753 people were killed, 184 people were killed at the Pentagon and 40 people were killed on Flight 93.

The front page of the New York Times read, “U.S. ATTACKED.” Other headlines on the same page read, “A CREEPING HORROR: Buildings Burn and Fall as Onlookers Search for Elusive Safety,” “President Vows to Exact Punishment for ‘Evil’,” “A Somber Bush Says Terrorism Cannot Prevail” and “Awaiting the Aftershocks: Washington and Nation Plunge Into Fight With Enemy Hard to Identify and Punish.”

Photos on the page depicted scenes of the horrific events of the day.

The New York Daily News proclaimed, “IT’S WAR” on its “DAY OF TERROR” special edition along with a photo taken just an instant before the second jetliner hit the south tower of the WTC.

In a special edition of San Francisco’s The Examiner, a headline that many in the newspaper business wish we had printed was displayed in huge letters that crossed the entire page, “BASTARDS!”

Here at home, The Pagosa Springs SUN was published on Sept. 13. “God Bless America” was the main headline over a photo of the American flag flying.

Newspapers worldwide told the story of the tragedy in various ways, speaking of terror, horror, devastation, nightmare, evil acts, catastrophe, retaliation, death and mourning.

The timeline as documented by the National 9/11 Memorial and Museum:

“8:46 a.m.: Hijackers deliberately crash Flight 11 into floors 93 through 99 of the North Tower (1 WTC).

“9:03 a.m.: Hijackers deliberately crash United Airlines Flight 175 into floors 77 through 85 of the south tower (2 WTC).

“9:37 a.m.: Hijackers deliberately crash American Airlines Flight 77 into the Pentagon, near Washington, D.C.

“9:59 a.m.: The South Tower (2 WTC) collapses.

“10:03 a.m.: After learning of the other attacks, passengers on United Airlines Flight 93 launch a counterattack on hijackers aboard their plane to try to seize control of the aircraft. In response, the hijackers crash the plane into an empty field near Shanksville, Pa.

“10:28 a.m.: The North Tower (1 WTC) collapses. The 16-acre World Trade Center site is in ruins, with collateral damage affecting all adjacent properties and streets. A rescue and recovery effort begins immediately.”

Today we commemorate the anniversary of an event that forever changed our world and life as we knew it.

Let us remember the thousands of men, women and children who were killed and ensure that they are not forgotten.

The Globe and Mail in Toronto, Canada, ran a full page photo on their front page of a man trudging through the destruction along a New York City street after the WTC towers had collapsed; he was covered in ash and debris as he protected his mouth and nose with a cloth. The headline ran at the top of the page as large as the space allowed: “We are survivors.”

Indeed, we are.

Terri Lynn Oldham House