Angel Portillo

Why Today Matters

Why Today Matters is written by Berryville resident Angel Portillo. Portillo is an undergrad at University of Arkansas, seeking his bachelor's degree in History. His column appears in the Tuesday Midweek edition of Carroll County News. He can be reached at aporae@gmail.com.


Sept 11, 2001: The Day the Earth Stood Still

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Just like me, millions of Americans will never forget that tragic day 11 years ago. I still remember it like it was yesterday.

I got home from school, and I opened the front door. There was my mother hypnotized by the TV screen, and then I saw that terrible image: one of the airplanes striking one of the towers of the World Trade Center.

At first I did not exactly comprehend what was happening. Being a 10-year old without a care in the world, I was actually worried about not watching my favorite Gameshow Network shows, since there was an extensive coverage of the attacks.

This continued for days. However, as the days progressed, I realized: "We have been attacked by an outside force. An enemy. They are trying to bring the United States down."

But even as a kid I knew that was simply not possible, and 11 years later I still believe the same thing.

On Sept. 11, 2001, the United States suffered from terrorist attacks where many innocent Americans died. The attacks were meant to scare us, but the truth is that since then we have been more united than ever.

In total, four airplanes were hijacked by 19 Al-Qaeda members.

American Airlines Flight 11, which departed from Boston struck the North Tower of the World Trade Center at 8:46 a.m. Of course, there was much confusion about what was going on and many thought it was an accident. The answer to their doubts came 17 minutes later when another airplane from Boston, United Airlines Flight 175, struck the South Tower.

At 9:37 a.m., the third plane, American Airlines Flight 77, hit the southwest side of the Pentagon. The fourth plane would crash in the Pennsylvania countryside, near a place called Shanksville, at 10:03 a.m. This was not the destination of the hijackers. It was actually headed toward the White House but thanks to the efforts of these courageous passengers the plane didn't manage to reach it. Unfortunately, they lost their lives, but they will always be remembered.

By the time the attacks were committed, almost 3,000 people had died: 2,750 in New York, 184 at the Pentagon, and 40 in Pennsylvania. Furthermore, more than 400 police officers and firefighters also lost their lives, dedicating themselves to rescuing and saving victims.

All these victims became heroes, and they did not die in vain. These attacks were meant to discourage us from continuing our normal lives. But they did the exact opposite.

We weren't afraid, and we still aren't. In fact, it made us stronger and we realized once again that we have lots of potential. As of now, we cannot be more proud of this great nation. It has given us so much. The United States legacy continues. United We Stand.