Note: This is the text of the address delivered by K. Charles Anderson of Needles Eagles Aerie 2599 during observances Sept. 11, 2019.
On Sept. 11, 2001, a group of small and hateful minds conspired to threaten the very fiber of our country, seeking to break the American spirit and destroy our way of life.
From the Atlantic to the Pacific, Americans were struck with grief as devastation and senseless loss of innocent human life unfolded. In the empty shadow of the World Trade center, the remains of the Pentagon, and a charred Pennsylvania field where courageous passengers saved countless lives, what emerged from the ashes of that day was not defeat — it was the heroism, compassion and unity of the American people, which no act of terror hate could ever take away.
On Sept. 11, we recall the true spirit of our nation following these heinous attacks, and we resolve to enshrine the enduring compassion and love of our people forever in the heart of America.
Eighteen years later, we pay tribute to the loss of nearly 3,000 lives, reflect on treasured memories of those we lost, and resolve to never forget that day, even as we look toward a brighter and more hopeful future. We draw inspiration from the survivors who still bear the scars — both seen and unseen — of that tragic day. We honor the valiance of our nation’s first responders, whose instinct was not to turn back and find safety for themselves, but to run toward untold danger. We show our gratitude to those young Americans of the 9-11 Generation, who until that day lived knowing only peace, but who have answered our country’s call to serve under our flag to meet the threats of our time with bravery and distinction.
In the years that have followed, with prayer and reflection, grace and faith, Americans have grieved together, held each other close, and looked out for one another. Though the void felt by those who lost a loved one on that day can never be filled, we can continue to heal the wounds inflicted by hatred by honoring the notion that, no matter our differences, we are forever united as one American family.
As we mourn on this most solemn anniversary, let us also reflect on the freedom and tolerance that define this great nation, and let us reaffirm our commitment to preserving those fundamental values for each generation of Americans to come.
We ask that you always honor and remember the victims of Sept. 11, 2001; and their loved ones; through prayer and contemplation.
Time line of events
Tolling a bell for each, Anderson presented the time line of events that occurred on Sept. 11, 2001:
7:59 a.m. American Airlines Flight 11, a Boeing 767 with 92 people aboard, takes off from Boston’s Logan International Airport en route to Los Angeles.
8:14 a.m. United Airlines Flight 175, a Boeing 767 with 65 people aboard, takes off from Boston; it is also headed to Los Angeles.
8:19 a.m. Flight attendants aboard Flight 11 alert ground personnel that the plane has been hijacked; American Airlines notifies the FBI.
8:20 a.m. American Airlines flight 77 takes off from Dulles International Airport outside of Washington, D.C. The Boeing 757 is headed to Los Angeles with 64 people aboard.
8:24 a.m. Hijacker Mohammed Atta makes the first of two accidental transmissions from Flight 11 to ground control (apparently in an attempt to communicate with the plane’s cabin).
8:40 a.m. The Federal Aviation Administration alerts North American Aerospace Defense Command’s Northeast Defense Sector (NEADS) about the suspected hijacking of Flight 11. In response the command scrambles two fighter planes located at Cape Cod’s Otis Air National Guard Base to locate and tail Flight 11; they are not yet in the air when Flight 11 crashes into the North Tower.
8:41 a.m. United Airlines Flight 93, a Boeing 757 with 44 people aboard, takes off from Newark International Airport en route to San Francisco. It had been scheduled to depart at 8 a.m., around the time of the other hijacked flights.
8:46 a.m. Mohammed Atta and the other hijackers aboard American Airlines Flight 11 crash the plane into floors 93-99 of the North Tower of the World Trade Center, killing everyone on board and hundreds inside the building.
8:47 a.m. Within seconds, the City of New York Police Department (NYPD) and the Fire Department of the City of New York (FDNY) forces dispatch units to the World Trade Center, while Port Authority Police Department officers on site begin immediate evacuation of the North Tower.
8:50 a.m. White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card alerts President George W. Bush that a plane has hit the World Trade Center; the president is visiting an elementary school in Sarasota, Fla., at the time.
9:02 a.m. After initially instructing tenants of the WTC’s South Tower to remain in the building, Port Authority officials broadcast orders to evacuate both towers via the public address system; an estimated 10,000 to 14,000 people are already in the process of evacuating.
9:03 a.m. Hijackers crash United Airlines Flight 175 into floors 75-85 of the South Tower, killing everyone on board and hundreds inside the building.
9:08 a.m. The FAA bans all takeoffs of flights going to New York City or through the airspace around the city.
9:21 a.m. The Port Authority closes all bridges and tunnels in the New York City area.
9:24 a.m. The FAA notifies NEADS of the suspected hijacking of Flight 77 after some passengers and crew aboard are able to alert family members on the ground.
9:31 a.m. Speaking from Florida, President Bush calls the events in New York City an “apparent terrorist attack on our country.”
9:37 a.m. Hijackers aboard Flight 77 crash the plane into the western facade of the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., killing 59 aboard the plane and 125 military and civilian personnel inside the building.
9:42 a.m. For the first time in history, the FAA grounds all flights over or bound for the continental United States. Some 3,300 commercial flights and 1,200 private planes are guided to airports in Canada and the United States over the next 2.5 hours.
9:45 a.m. Amid escalating rumors of other attacks, the White House and U.S. Capitol buildings are evacuated (along with numerous other high-profile buildings, landmarks and public spaces).
9:59 a.m. The South Tower of the World Trade Center collapses.
10:07 a.m. After passengers and crew members aboard the hijacked Flight 93 contact friends and family and learn about the attacks in New York and Washington, they mount an attempt to retake the plane. In response, hijackers deliberately crash the plane into a field in Somerset county, Pennsylvania, killing all aboard.
10:28 a.m. The World Trade Center’s North Tower collapses, 102 minutes after being struck by Flight 11.
11 a.m. Mayor Rudolph Giuliani calls for the evacuation of Lower Manhattan south of Canal Street, including more than 1 million residents, workers and tourists, as efforts continue throughout the afternoon to search for survivors at the WTC site.
1 p.m. From a U.S. Air Force base in Louisiana, President Bush announces that U.S. military forces are on high alert worldwide.
2:51 p.m. The U.S. Navy dispatches missile destroyers to New York and Washington, D.C.
5:20 p.m. The 47-story Seven World Trade Center collapses after burning for hours; the building had been evacuated in the morning and there are no casualties, though the collapse forces rescue workers to flee for their lives.
8:30 p.m. President Bush addresses the nation, calling the attacks “evil, despicable acts of terror” and declaring that America, its friend and allies would “stand together to win the war against terrorism.”
A prayer for healing
Holy God, Creator of all people and all nations, it is with sorrow and apprehension we remember the tragic events that occurred on this day.
We lift to You in prayer all those who died in the Twin Towers, at the Pentagon, and on United Airlines Flight 93 in Shankesville, Penn. We pray for those who courageously responded to provide aid and comfort to the afflicted.
May the painful memories of that day continue to be healed and transformed into strength and positive resolution.
Enable us, Dear God, to put an end to fear:
By resolving to live lives that are based on respect for one another;
By resolving to abide in a peaceful manner and never settle disagreements in our lives in a violent way;
By resolving not to fall into the trap of blaming entire ethnic groups, races or religions in response to acts of hostility;
By resolving that justice, not revenge, prevail in our world.
Let us resolve that in the face of hatred, we will show love; that in times of despair, we will be voices of hope and creators of new dreams; that in times of darkness we will be sources of light.
Let us honor the memory of nearly 3,000 individuals who died on Sept. 11, 2001, by resolving, with Your help Almighty God, to truly live this way so You may be glorified and Your love made known to others through us.