Patriot Day Speech Editor’s ….
Patriot Day Speech
Editor’s note: The following Patriot Day speech was delivered at a 9/11 observance sponsored by the American Legion at Veterans Plaza. It was written by Dan Weber, Mutual 1, who was unable to deliver it on that day, and so it is printed here. Weber is the adjutant for Post 327 and a Navy veteran.
by Dan Weber
On Dec. 18, 2001, Congress, through the president, designated Sept. 11 as “Patriot Day” on each anniversary of the attacks.
Thank you for coming on this 20th anniversary of 9/11. We are here to commemorate patriots. Our lives changed forever on that September day.
Nineteen men hijacked four fuel-loaded U.S. commercial airlines bound for West Coast destinations. This terrorist attack on the United States was orchestrated by al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. A total of 2,977 people were killed in New York City; Washington, D.C.; and outside Shanksville, Pennsylvania, in the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history.
At the World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan, 2,753 people were killed when hijacked American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175 were intentionally crashed into the north and south towers. Of those who perished during the initial attacks and the subsequent collapses of the towers, 343 were New York City firefighters, another 23 were New York City police officers and 37 others were officers at the Port Authority. The victims ranged in age from two to 85 years. At the Pentagon in Washington, 184 people were killed when hijacked American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the building.
Near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, 40 passengers and crew members aboard United Airlines Flight 93 died when the plane crashed into a field. It is believed that the hijackers crashed the plane in that location, rather than their unknown target, after the passengers and crew attempted to retake control of the flight deck.
As of September 2015, 1,640 of 2,753 WTC victims’ remains have been positively identified.
Sept. 11, 2001
• 8:46 a.m. ET: American Airlines Flight 11 (traveling from Boston to Los Angeles) strikes the north tower of the World Trade Center in New York City.
• 9:03 a.m. ET: United Airlines Flight 175 (traveling from Boston to Los Angeles) strikes the south tower of the World Trade Center in New York City.
• 9:37 a.m. ET: American Airlines Flight 77 (traveling from Dulles, Virginia, to Los Angeles) strikes the Pentagon Building in Washington.
9:59 a.m. ET: South tower collapses in about 10 seconds.
• 10:03 a.m. ET: United Airlines Flight 93 crashes in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
• 10:28 a.m. ET: North tower of WTC collapses. The time between the first attack and the collapse of both World Trade Center towers is 102 minutes.
Costs of the Attack
From an economic standpoint, the costs of this single day 20 years ago are staggering and worth remembering and reiterating to those who might forget:
• $500,000: Estimated amount to plan and execute the attacks.
• $123 billion: Estimated economic loss during the first two-four weeks after the World Trade Center towers collapsed in New York City, as well as decline in airline travel over the next few years.
• $60 billion: Estimated cost of the WTC site damage, including damage to surrounding buildings and infrastructure.
• $40 billion: Value of the emergency anti-terrorism package approved by the U.S. Congress on Sept. 14, 2001.
• $15 billion: Aid package passed by Congress to bail out the airlines.
• $9.3 billion: Insurance claims arising from the 9/11 attacks.
Cleanup at Ground Zero
• May 30, 2002: Cleanup at Ground Zero officially ends. It took 3.1 million hours of labor to clean up 1.8 million tons of debris. The cleanup cost was $750 million.
Even more significant than this economic loss is the human cost. In addition to those who lost their lives on this day 20 years ago are the lives of those called to service, the lives of their families, those called into combat and who subsequently lost their lives in Iraq, Afghanistan and other related places to regain the initiative in this 21st century fight against those who wish our country harm.
Since that fateful event, we have lost 7,000 servicemen and women in combat; 52,000 were wounded; and 970,000 servicemen and women have registered with the VA as disabled. All told some 7 million men and women have fought for this country and, as a direct result of the events we remember today, many of them multiple times. Never in our history have so few fought on behalf of so many when so much is at stake. Today, less than 1 percent of this nation defends 99 percent of its population.
So this morning, in this special place, we remember the sacrifice, the service, the families, our nation and its leaders. We pray that no more monuments need be erected to the fallen, no more terrible days be endured and that no one forgets the day that changed our lives forever.