September 11, 2013
The Statue of Liberty, a neoclassical sculpture designed by Frenchman Frederic Bartholdi, was a gift from the people of France in honor of the friendship created during the French Revolution by the two countries. The statue, standing 151 feet tall on a granite pedestal on Liberty Island in New York Harbor, was dedicated on October 28, 1886. On a plaque hanging inside the statue since 1903 is the poem “The New Colossus” written by Emma Lazarus, which contains the following line; “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”
The Twin Towers was the name most people referred to 1 World Trade Center (the North Tower) and 2 World Trade Center (the South Tower). These two buildings, along with 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 World Trade Center, comprised the World Trade Center complex, which stood in lower Manhattan, in New York City until September 11, 2001. The total cost of the complex was $400 million. When the Twin Towers, designed by Minoru Yamasaki and Emery Roth, were opened on April 4, 1973, they were the tallest buildings in the world, standing 110 stories.
On September 11, 2001, in arguably the most horrific act of terrorism ever committed in a single day, members of al-Qaeda, an Islamist militant group that was founded by Osama bin Laden, flew a Boeing 767 jetliner into each tower. One hour later, the South Tower had collapsed followed a half hour later by the North Tower. By the end of this ghastly day, 7 World Trade Center had also collapsed, leaving 2,753 people dead and many more injured. All other World Trade Center buildings were later demolished due to being damaged beyond repair.
In the coordinated terrorist attack on that fateful Tuesday morning twelve years ago, nineteen members al-Qaeda hijacked a total of four planes. One of the four crashed into the Pentagon, located in Washington, D.C., the fourth plane crashed in a field outside Shanksville, Pennsylvania after passengers, who learned of the other hijackings via cellphones, attempted to retake control of the plane. All told, nearly three thousand innocent people lost their lives that horrendous day.
As a result of this horrendous attack, America attacked both Iraq and Afghanistan. Even though “officially” the Iraq War has ended for this nation, both are ongoing and are the longest in this country’s history, and have resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians. One independent survey, conducted by the Opinion Research Business out of London, has estimated civilian deaths just from the Iraq War at more than one million. A lesson America has yet to learn from this tragedy is that for every action there is a reaction. I am not saying the September 11th attack was justified, however, it is our foreign policy of supporting and arming a very long list of dictators, despots and tyrants over the past hundred years that is the reason why we are so despised throughout much of the world.
Steven H. Spring