On Saturday, we mark the 20th anniversary of the tragic events of 9/11. On that day, terrorists attacked the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and an airplane that crashed near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The number of lives lost after the planes slammed into the Twin Towers numbered 2,763, including more than 400 police officers, fire fighters and first responders.
The events left a permanent imprint on us. We lost relatives, friends, and colleagues in the senseless attack. Our offices at 80 Centre Street shook with the impact of the towers’ collapse, as ashy dust blanketed Lower Manhattan. Our staff helped each other, and some complete strangers, get home when subways, trains and bridges shut down. In the days and weeks afterwards, police officers, firefighters and other enforcement personnel sorted through the smoldering rubble in what began as a rescue effort, and ended as a recovery operation. Thousands of survivors and first responders later developed illnesses linked to their exposure to toxic debris at the World Trade Center site.
In our workplace and in our neighborhoods, throughout our city and our country, when we felt most vulnerable, we banded together to support each other and rebuild. Twenty years later, we remember the devastation and honor the memory of lost loved ones. We also commemorate our response as a testament to the power of unity and resilience. When we unite, we can overcome the most daunting challenges. That was true twenty years ago, and it is true today. May this solemn day remind us of all that is possible if we once again work together to recover and rebuild.