Remembering 911, 18 years later | RecordCourier.com

Remembering 911, 18 years later

by Anita Kornoff
Spires

No one will ever forget the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001. That is when 19 militants associated with the Islamic extremist group al-Qaida hijacked four airplanes and carried out suicide attacks against targets in the United States.

It was on a clear Tuesday morning when an American Airlines Boeing 767 passenger plane loaded with 20,000 gallons of jet fuel left Boston Logan International Airport headed for LAX. I remember those details distinctly because I was visiting my son and his wife in Braintree, Mass., and was scheduled to take that same flight from Logan to LAX on the following day, Sept. 12, with American Airlines. But for the grace of God…

As the evacuation of the tower and its twin began, television cameras broadcast live images of what initially appeared to be a freak accident. Then, 18 minutes after the first plane hit, a second Boeing 767 — United Airlines Flight 175 — appeared out of the sky, turned sharply toward the World Trade Center slicing into the south tower near the 60th floor. It caused a massive explosion showering burning debris over surrounding buildings and the streets below and it immediately became clear that America was under attack.

At 9:45 a.m. American Airlines Flight 77, circled over downtown Washington, D.C., before crashing into the west side of the Pentagon military headquarters causing the deaths of 125 more people and creating a devastating inferno.

Also, on that day, terrorists hijacked another California-bound passenger plane. Their target was believed to be the White House. A small group of passengers and crew members, having learned the fate of the three other hijacked flights realized they were involved in a larger terrorist plot and made a brave attempt to retake control of United Airlines Flight 93. Although their efforts resulted in the plane crashing into a Shanksville, Penn., field killing all 44 people on board it saved the lives of many other intended victims.

The total lives lost that day were 2,977 victims plus the 19 hijackers and it was declared the “Deadliest Day in History for U.S. Firefighters.” On December 18, 2001, Congress approved naming September 11 “Patriot Day” to commemorate the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. In 2009, Congress also declared September 11 a National Day of Service and Remembrance.

Since 2002, the Sierra Nevada Republican Women have presented an annual 9/11 dinner in honor and memory of these, the most tragic events in America’s history. This year Sept. 11 falls on the regular monthly meeting day of the group so, instead of hosting a formal dinner they have planned a special luncheon and program at Carson Valley Inn. Everyone is invited to attend, regardless of political affiliation.

The speaker for the lunch meeting is Lt. Col. Brad Spires of the Civil Air Patrol. His presentation is titled “Civil Air Patrol: Serving our State and our Community.” Civil Air Patrol is all-volunteer. It is part of the Air Force’s Total Force and has recently been tasked with homeland security. A graduate of Baylor University, Lt. Col. Spires finished at the top of his class at the Air Force Fighter Weapons School and was invited back as an instructor. Following his retirement from the Air Force Lt. Col. Spires joined the Civil Air Patrol in 2008 as a mission pilot. In 2011 he was named Nevada Wing Squadron Commander of the Year.

The CVI banquet room doors open at 11:30 a.m., with the buffet starting at noon. There will be no regular club business conducted during this event. The price is $25 and reservations must be made by September 6. No additional lunches will be sold at the door on 9/11. Reservations can be made on-line by going to the “Events” tab at the club’s website, sierranevadarepublicanwomen.com. Or contacting Bev Anderson at 782-0730.

Contact Anita Kornoff at museummatters1@gmail.com.