A day that stands in infamy is September 11. America was attacked on her soil by terrorists. A group of militant Islamic al-Qaeda who hated America so much they coordinated a series of four terrorist attacks on the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001. Americans were stunned, afraid and in a state of panic as the events unfolded.

 On that morning, four commercial airliners traveling from the northeastern United States to California were hijacked mid-flight by 19 al-Qaeda terrorists. The hijackers were organized into three groups of five hijackers and one group of four. Each group had one hijacker who had received flight training and took over control of the aircraft. Their goal? To crash each plane into a prominent American building, causing mass casualties. 
Brookville resident Rebecca Totten will never forget.
"I was almost to college driving when an alert came across the radio saying a plane had just crashed into the trade center in New York," Totten recalled. "I, in disbelief, thought it was a disgusting joke, and someone was going to lose their job for this one. Then I pulled into the parking garage, and another alert of a second plane crashing into the other tower... I called my mom and asked if this is real?"

Unfortunately, it was all too real. The first plane to hit its target was American Airlines Flight 11 flown into the North Tower of the World Trade Center complex in Lower Manhattan at 8:46 am. Seventeen minutes later at 9:03 am, the World Trade Center's South Tower was hit by United significantly damaging surrounding buildings.
 A third flight, American Airlines Flight 77, was hijacked over Ohio. At 9:37 am, it crashed into the west side of the Pentagon, causing a partial collapse of the building's side. The fourth and final flight, United Airlines Flight 93, was flown in the direction of Washington, D.C. This flight was the only plane not to hit its intended target, instead crashing in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania at 10:03 am. The plane's passengers attempted to regain control of the aircraft away from the hijackers and ultimately diverted the flight from its intended target. Investigators determined the flight's target was either the White House or the U.S. Capitol.

Like most, Totten and her mother had no idea what was happening or what was coming next as the attacks continued. However, Totten recalled the exact answer given by her mother when she asked if this was real.

"She told me to get into school and stay there until I hear back from her. As I walked to the rear entrance, my close friend Nathan says did you hear? I shook my head with tears in my eyes, and he had hurt in his eyes as well. We both went in and sat with our peers in silence, just watching the breaking news for what seemed like an eternity. Tears were shed a lot in the classroom that day. Finally, we were told to all go home. I remember driving in fear, not knowing why or if it was over."

In less than an hour and a half, America as we knew it suddenly changed.
Connersville resident Randy Ramsey will never forget." Rocky Westerfield and I were having breakfast at the Chrome Grill in Connersville when it came over the TV," Ramsey said. "We just looked at one another, stunned. It was exactly a week before, he and I, my brother and a good friend of ours, Gary Seibert, were having lunch on the floor the first plane hit. After leaving there, we went to visit the Pentagon, where a plane also hit it. I think about it every year. We could have gone a week after, or the planes could have hit them a week earlier. But, thank the good lord; it wasn't our time."
 The attacks resulted in 2,977 fatalities, over 25,000 injuries, and substantial long-term health consequences. In addition, there was $10 billion in infrastructure and property damage.

Twenty years later, it remains the deadliest terrorist attack in human history and the single deadliest incident for firefighters and law enforcement officers in the history of the United States, with 340 and 72 killed, respectively. 
Numerous memorials have been constructed, including the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York City, the Pentagon Memorial in Arlington County, Virginia, and the Flight 93 National Memorial at the Pennsylvania crash site.

May we NEVER forget