Last year, the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the U.S. received many introspective looks at that infamous date. This year's date also has been noticed and discussed, but without the amount of publicity it received last year.
There are many reasons for this: The fact most media retrospective pieces seem to concentrate on 10-, 20-, or some other anniversary year ending in zero. Another reason obviously is the U.S. presidential election in November, which is starting to heat up, has garnered the lion's share of media attention.
However, it doesn't matter how many years ago 9-11 happened-it will never be forgotten, nor should it ever be forgotten.
Everyone knows the facts of Sept. 11: 19 militants from the Islamic terrorist organization al-Qaeda hijacked four U.S., commercial jetliners to carry out a coordinated suicide mission against America. Two of the planes crashed into the North and the South Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City; one hit the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and another, believed to have targeted the U.S. Capitol Building, crashed in a rural Pennsylvania field. In all nearly 3,000 civilians were killed, including former Parkersburg resident Mary Lou Hague who was working in the World Trade Center.
Since 2001, many of al-Qaeda's top figures have been killed-including mastermind Osama bin Laden who received his just reward in 2011 during a remarkable raid by a team of Navy SEALs.
Many people say we are safer now than in 2011 because we are more aware of the possibility of terrorists attacking us within the U.S. This is probably true; a closer watch is kept on many terrorist organizations, and as anyone who travels by air certainly knows, many more security precautions are taken by the government. The increased security is burdensome, but necessary. But there have been no attacks within the country since 9-11.
Today, in ceremonies all over the United States-including here at Parkersburg High School, where Mary Lou Hague graduated-people will gather to remember the victims of Sept. 11, 2001. It will be a sad occasion, especially for the surviving members of families whose lives were forever changed that day.
However, the legacy of those innocent victims of terror should be to remind us to be forever vigilant to try and ensure something like this never happens again.