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Picture of the day - September 11, 2006

A Human Flag In Virginia Beach, Va

A Human Flag
Click photo to enlarge.     Photo courtesy of the United States Navy.

It's hard to believe that it has been 5 long years, but it has. September 11, 2001 began as a beautiful autumn morning in New York City and Washington, DC, but as millions of Americans were watching the morning news and eating breakfast, the day quickly turned sour when hijackers took over and flew two commercial airliners into the twin towers of the World Trade Center. When the first plane hit the north tower, most people thought it must have been an accident - a pilot must surely have made a grave error. But minutes later it became all too apparent that the crash had not been accidental at all when the second plane struck the south tower.

A few minutes after that a third plane plowed into the Pentagon. A fourth plane was headed towards the White House, but it crashed into a Pennsylvania field after several brave passengers who were determined not to let the plane hit it's intended target fought with the hijackers and caused it to crash prematurely. The heroes aboard that fourth airplane sacrificed their own lives in order to save one of our national landmarks and the people who would be inside it.

The terrible events that unfolded on that fateful autumn day exactly five years ago changed the world in which we live forever. We Americans had always taken our freedom for granted, depending on our mighty military forces under the direction of our elected leaders to protect us from our enemies - but suddenly we found ourselves up against a new kind of enemy. For the first time in the history of our nation, we were attacked by an enemy who wasn't fighting on behalf of another country - an enemy who had no fear or hesitation about committing suicide in order to kill as many American civilians as possible. As a result, we will likely never again be able to feel quite as free as we had before that day.

But we Americans weren't about to roll over and give in to the demands of terrorists. As soon as the smoke had cleared and we knew exactly who was responsible for the carnage, the Commander In Chief of the United States Armed Forces dispatched our brave men and women in uniform to Afghanistan, Iraq and other parts of the world to track down those responsible for the September 11 attacks and those who would love to attack us again in the future. We have been fighting this "War On Terror" for five long years now, and most Americans understand that it will likely go on for decades, if not forever.

We lost thousands of our fellow citizens on that September morning, but we never for a minute lost our pride in our country or our will to persevere against such an insidious enemy. We will be forever vigilant in protecting our country while always remembering our fallen friends, neighbors and comrades. America will win the "War On Terror", and her people will always enjoy more freedom and prosperity than those who plot to destroy us.

Like Old Glory flying proudly above Fort McHenry on another September morning in 1814, we have emerged from battle battered and torn, but we are still Americans living in the home of the brave and the land of the free...and we always will be!

About the photo: In remembrance of those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001, more than 1,200 service members, civic leaders, and civilians stood together to create a human flag during the 9/11 Hampton Roads Remembers ceremony at Mount Trashmore Park in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Christopher Hall took today's picture on behalf of the U.S. Navy and the American people.

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