An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

The legacy of Sept. 11, 2001

  • Published
  • By Maj. Michael Estira
  • 43rd Logistics Readiness Squadron Commander
My son is almost 13 now. He was just 5 years old when the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001, unfolded. Curious by nature, he has asked so many questions over the course of the years. 

"Why does everybody talk about 9/11 all the time? Why did they attack innocent people? Why can't we be friends with one another? Why can't there be peace amongst nations?"
I try hard to answer. 

It has been eight years since the tragic attack. Like the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, everyone knows where they were and what they were doing when they heard about the horrifying terrorist attacks in New York, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania.
In total 2,993 people, including the terrorists, died in the attacks. The overwhelming majority of casualties were civilians, including nationals of more than 90 countries. We could relive the horror, but it is not the right thing to do. What we should do is relive the positive outcomes of this tragedy.
The events on 9/11 brought this nation together. Whether it was to mourn with the families of victims, acknowledge the heroics of policemen, firemen, medics and especially the passengers and flight crew members of United Airlines Flight 93, or to assist in rescue operations, we, as a nation, came together. 

The realization that what happened on 9/11 affected not only the streets of New York and the hallways of the Pentagon, but affected all of us. We were attacked and together we responded - that was the miracle after the tragedy, the calm after the storm, and the light in the darkness. The immediate response to the attacks proved that, with a common purpose and initiative, we as a nation can come together to achieve a common goal.
But does it take a horrific attack to realize that we can do such a thing? No, it doesn't. We should be able to come together at anytime. I hope that we recognized that and took it to heart - we are not called the United States of America for nothing. 

After eight years, it seems that we have moved on and have extracted our so-called revenge. The tragedy of 9/11 wasn't like a natural disaster. It was man made. Some people who hated Americans set out to harm us, and they succeeded. We have come a long way to make amends with our adversaries, even paying the ultimate sacrifice to achieve peace. Now is the time to make peace so that the 9/11 tragedy will never see a reincarnation. 

Peace will never be achieved if we don't reach out to our adversaries. It will be achieved when both sides take the time to fully know each other and understand why each have their own beliefs. 

Let 9/11 be an example of what happens when prejudice affects our worldview. Do not let the victims die in vain and do not let another act of hatred occur again. Let us reach out to our brothers and sisters in the world because they are just like us, longing for unity and harmony. 

On Sept. 11, 2001, we were attacked, but do not let the horrors of that day be its legacy. Let us learn from the tragedy and let our newly learned lessons be its legacy.
I hope that the tragic events of 9/11 cause a movement for unity and peace, not just between us and our adversaries, but for the whole world. Let the legacy of 9/11 become a stepping stone toward unity ... first it united a nation, then it united two cultures, and finally it united the world. 

As my son grows older, he will soon find the answers to his questions as he will be living through this legacy for the rest of his life.