McAlester News-Capital

McAlester News-Capital office

Attacks 20 years ago this week will never be forgotten.

Four coordinated terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001 killed nearly 3,000. Two planes flew into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, a third plane hit the Pentagon, and a fourth crashed in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

The attack marked the deadliest on American soil since Pearl Harbor. It struck confusion, shock, anger in us all.

We will all remember where we were that day and how it impacted us.

A mobile memorial honoring those who died in the 9/11 attacks and response stopped Tuesday night in McAlester.

Several locals visited the 9/11 Never Forget: 20th Year Memorial — which includes a piece of a steel beam from the Twin Towers, debris from the Pentagon crash site, a New York City fireman's uniform and helmet and more.

A display after sunset also shown two light beams into the sky honoring the Twin Towers.

Gen. Tommy Franks was Commander of the United States Central Command on the day of the attacks. He retired from the Army in 2003 and started the General Tommy Franks Leadership Institute and Museum in Hobart, Oklahoma — which provided the mobile memorial that's making an Oklahoma tour this week.

We appreciate the opportunity to honor the fallen and remember the tragic events of that day.

Air Force veteran and Pittsburg County resident Harry Jackson took a moment to share his story from 9/11.

Officials didn't show for several morning briefings that morning where he was stationed at Laughlin Air Force Base in Del Rio, Texas. A public affairs official told those gathered about the first plane and they watched the rest unfold on television.

"It was horrendous," Jackson said.

We all share that horrendous moment in our nation's history — whether we were in grade school watching our teachers cover their mouths in shock, standing stunned beside our coworker watching the attack unfold, or any of the inifint ways it impacted us.

Our country could use a moment of unity amid a divisive era — so let's take a moment this week to remember that tragic day and how it united us.

• McAlester News-Capital Editorial Board

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