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Letter: Never forget: 20 years since Sept. 11, 2001, the day that shook America

American Airlines Flight 11 struck World Trade Center North, and United Airlines Flight 175 struck World Trade Center South.

American Airlines Flight 77 struck the Pentagon. The United Airlines Flight 93, passengers who fought their hijackers, crashed near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

The death toll for the 9/11 attacks stands at 2,977 people, though between 3,000 and 4,000 have died from illnesses related to toxic deaths and debris from the attacks.

None of us will ever forget that horrible day. My friend, a pilot, was flying on his way to New York City. His wife and two daughters were with my husband and me in Michigan. My son called from Kentucky and gave us the news. I cried and prayed for protection not believing our pilots would ever fly into a building. My friend called the company for which her husband was flying. The company replied that all flights were returning to airports they came from.

In New York, people began rushing toward the Brooklyn Bridge, the shortest route out of Manhattan. In the chaos of 9/11, Mayor Rudolph Guiliani praised New Yorkers, the medical workers and all people working together from all over the United States.

In keeping our country together, President Bush said from the Oval Office the night of the attacks: “Terrorists attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundations of America.”

Lady Bush, first lady, told a handful of journalists, “Our hearts and prayers go out to all the victims of this act of terrorism; all of our prayers are with everyone there.”

Around the world, stunned leaders voiced outrage, demanded justice and offered sympathy to a shaken nation.

By God’s grace we shall overcome the worst thing to happen on America’s soil in my lifetime. Returning home that day we saw people on the bridges with American flags and signs with God Bless America.

With gratitude and appreciation, veterans and police, rescue workers, firefighters and civilians, thank you for your sacrifices that make America what it is today — proud and free. A day to remember that we were all together.

Mavis Jacobs Hanson

Albert Lea

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