If tears could build a stairway, and memories were a lane,
I would walk right up to heaven to bring you home again.
No farewell words were spoken, no time to say goodbye;
you were gone before I knew it, and only God knows why.
My heart still aches in sadness and secret tears still flow,
what it meant to lose you, no one will ever know.

On September 11, 2001, our world changed forever.
However, as a united global community, we will rise above this tragedy.
As a whole, we are good, honest people striving for peace, striving to
care for our families and to understand and appreciate the differences
in those around us.

As a nation, we extend our deepest sympathies to those who lost innocent loved ones.
We extend both our sympathies and our eternal gratitude to the friends
and families of firefighters, police officers, and emergency personnel who
have been lost. The heroism of the rescue workers allowed other mothers,
fathers, and children to return home.
Our thoughts are with everyone as we move forward during this difficult time.

The informed defense officials laid out a timeline of the events surrounding the series of terrorist attacks as follows: Times are EDT and reflect actual, rather than scheduled departure times of flights.

7:59 a.m. American Airlines flight 11 takes off from Boston's Logan International Airport.

8:14 a.m. United Airlines flight 175 takes off from Boston's Logan International Airport.

8:20 a.m. American Airlines flight 11 stops transmitting IFF beacon signal while over the Hudson River.

8:20 a.m. American Airlines flight 77 departs Dulles International Airport near Washington.

8:38 a.m. Boston air traffic center notifies NORAD that American Airlines flight 11 has been hijacked.

8:43 a.m. FAA notifies NORAD that United Airlines flight 175 has been hijacked.

8:44 a.m. Otis Air National Guard Base in Mass. orders to fighters scrambled.

8:48 a.m. American Airlines Flight 11, a Boeing 767 en route from Boston's Logan Airport to Los Angeles International with 92 people onboard, slams into the north tower, 1 World Trade Center.

9:05 a.m. Approximately 18 minutes later, United Airlines Flight 175, also a Boeing 767 enroute from Boston to Los Angeles with 65 people onboard, hits the south tower, 2 World Trade Center.

9:21 a.m. New York City Port Authority closes all bridges and tunnels in New York City.

9:24 a.m. President Bush calls the crashes "an apparent terrorist attack on our country."

9:32 a.m. New York Stock Exchange closed 9:40 a.m. The FAA orders the entire nationwide air traffic system shut down. All flights at U.S. airports are stopped.

9:43 a.m. American Airlines Flight 77, a Boeing 757 enroute from Dulles Airport outside Washington to LAX with 58 passengers and six crew members, crashes into the Pentagon. One of the building's five sides collapses.

9:45 a.m. The White House is evacuated.

9:59 a.m. The south tower of the World Trade Center collapses in a plume of ash and debris.

10:00 a.m. United Airlines Flight 93, a Boeing 757 en route from Newark, NJ, to San Francisco with 38 passengers and seven crew members, crashes just north of the Somerset County Airport, about 80 miles southeast of Pittsburgh. Shortly before impact, a passenger called on his cell phone from a locked bathroom: "We are being hijacked, we are being hijacked!" At this time there was concern the plane was headed to Camp David.

10:24 a.m. The FAA reports that all inbound transatlantic flights are to be diverted to Canada.

10:28 a.m. The World Trade Center's north tower collapses.

12:15 p.m. The United States closes some border crossings with Canada and Mexico.

1:02 p.m. New York Mayor Rudolph Guiliani orders an evacuation of Manhattan south of Canal Street.

1:04 p.m. In a speech at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana, President Bush announces that security measures are being taken and says: "Make no mistake, the United States will hunt down and punish those responsible for these cowardly acts."

1:44 p.m. The Navy dispatches aircraft carriers and guided missile destroyers to New York and Washington. Around the country, fighters, airborne radar and refueling planes scramble. The North American Aerospace Defense Command goes to its highest alert.

1:44 p.m. President Bush leaves Barksdale Air Force Base for Nebraska's Offutt Air Force Base, home to the U.S. Strategic Command.

4:30 p.m. President Bush leaves Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska for Washington.

4:45 p.m. The City of New York announces that 200 firefighters have been killed and 78 police officers are missing.

5:20 p.m. Seven World Trade Center, a 47-story tower, collapses from ancillary damage.

This is Leonard Pitts, Jr. column from the Miami Herald. Published Wednesday, September 12, 2001

It's my job to have something to say. They pay me to provide words that help make sense of that which troubles the American soul. But in this moment of airless shock when hot tears sting disbelieving eyes, the only thing I can find to say, the only words that seem to fit, must be addressed to the unknown author of this suffering.

You monster. You beast. You unspeakable bastard.

What lesson did you hope to teach us by your coward's attack on our World Trade Center, our Pentagon, us? What was it you hoped we would learn? Whatever it was, please know that you failed.

Did you want us to respect your cause? You just damned your cause.

Did you want to make us fear? You just steeled our resolve.

Did you want to tear us apart? You just brought us together.

Let me tell you about my people. We are a vast and quarrelsome family, a family rent by racial, social, political and class division, but a family nonetheless. We're frivolous, yes, capable of expending tremendous emotional energy on pop cultural minutiae -- a singer's revealing dress, a ball team's misfortune, a cartoon mouse. We're wealthy, too, spoiled by the ready availability of trinkets and material goods, and maybe because of that, we walk through life with a certain sense of blithe entitlement. We are fundamentally decent, though -- peace-loving and compassionate. We struggle to know the right thing and to do it. And we are, the overwhelming majority of us, people of faith, believers in a just and loving God.

Some people -- you, perhaps -- think that any or all of this makes us weak. You're mistaken. We are not weak. Indeed, we are strong in ways that cannot be measured by arsenals.


Yes, we're in pain now. We are in mourning and we are in shock. We're still grappling with the unreality of the awful thing you did, still working to make ourselves understand that this isn't a special effect from some Hollywood blockbuster, isn't the plot development from a Tom Clancy novel. Both in terms of the awful scope of their ambition and the probable final death toll, your attacks are likely to go down as the worst acts of terrorism in the history of the United States and, probably, the history of the world. You've bloodied us as we have never been bloodied before.

But there's a gulf of difference between making us bloody and making us fall. This is the lesson Japan was taught to its bitter sorrow the last time anyone hit us this hard, the last time anyone brought us such abrupt and monumental pain. When roused, we are righteous in our outrage, terrible in our force. When provoked by this level of barbarism, we will bear any suffering, pay any cost, go to any length, in the pursuit of justice.

I tell you this without fear of contradiction. I know my people, as you, I think, do not. What I know reassures me. It also causes me to tremble with dread of the future.

In the days to come, there will be recrimination and accusation, fingers pointing to determine whose failure allowed this to happen and what can be done to prevent it from happening again. There will be heightened security, misguided talk of revoking basic freedoms. We'll go forward from this moment sobered, chastened, sad. But determined, too. Unimaginably determined.


You see, the steel in us is not always readily apparent. That aspect of our character is seldom understood by people who don't know us well. On this day, the family's bickering is put on hold.

As Americans we will weep, as Americans we will mourn, and as Americans, we will rise in defense of all that we cherish.

So I ask again: What was it you hoped to teach us? It occurs to me that maybe you just wanted us to know the depths of your hatred. If that's the case, consider the message received. And take this message in exchange: You don't know my people. You don't know what we're capable of. You don't know what you just started.

But you're about to learn.

The following is a beautiful poem written by Francine Pucillo:

Today the world is grieving
No victory displayed
Cowards filled with hatred
Your evil souls enslaved

You took away God's children
No matter race or creed
Violated freedom
Such evil in this deed

You showed a nation horror
With innocents you chose
The cowards of the evil ones
With hatred ~ no values

You never will destroy us
You only made us strong
You only showed with evil
What is right and what is wrong

In a world of freedom
That has the very best
Nations born with dignity
Each one of them our guest

No matter what religion
Color faith or creed
We all are all united
From evil that you breed

You may kill our loved ones
Without a single thought
You can't destroy our nation
For freedom we have fought

America is strong now
With dignity and pride
Mountains hills and oceans
Our eagle flies worldwide.

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