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It has been 16 years since the attacks which killed 2, 752 people, destroyed the World Trade Center and damaged the Pentagon on September 11th 2001. At the time of the attack I was living in Warsaw, Poland. I was renting an apartment with my friends from college. I remember coming back from my classes to the apartment and my friends were watching tv. What it seemed like an action movie at that time, was a terrible true story I couldn’t believe…
Reactions to the September 11 attacks included condemnation from world leaders, other political and religious representatives and the international media, as well as numerous memorials and services all over the world.
In Poland, every year, government officials are among those attending a wreath-laying ceremony in the capital Warsaw at a special memorial for those who died in the 9/11 attacks.The ceremony usually is followed by a gala concert with music specially composed to remember the victims. Firefighters and other professional rescue workers sound their vehicle sirens, letting loose a collective wail. Many Poles also express their sympathy by lighting hundreds of candles in front of the U.S. embassy in Warsaw.
It’s been said that every generation has a defining moment, where we witness something so powerful or so tragic that you remember exactly where you were and what you were doing when it occurred. For years, older Americans may have pointed to the assassination of President Kennedy or the moon landing as this moment. But 16 years ago, as a horrified world watched the towers fall, we all became witnesses to a moment that has changed the course of human history.
Rather than buckle in the face of such evil, Americans rallied, coming together in acts of heroism and love so poignant that 9/11 has become a symbol not just honoring those who were lost, but demonstrating the height of American compassion.
In the end, it brought out the best in us, not only Americans, but other nations in the world.