Today marks 10 years since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States that killed nearly 3,000 people and transformed a nation that had previously believed it was largely safe from a major attack on its mainland.
From New York to Washington, the skies were clear and blue on that morning when two hijacked jetliners crashed into the towers of the World Trade Center and another rammed into the Pentagon.
A fourth hijacked plane crashed in Pennsylvania after passengers tried to gain control of the aircraft.
By the end of 2001, the United States was at war in Afghanistan. Two years later, the United States would invade Iraq. In the meantime, the nation overhauled its domestic security apparatus, creating the Department of Homeland Security, and rewriting laws to facilitate the detection and tracking of potential terrorist threats at home and abroad.
While Americans reflect and remember, President Barack Obama marks the anniversary with trips to all three attack sites. In his weekly Internet address, he paid tribute to those who responded on 9-11 in the face of great danger.
“Ten years ago, ordinary Americans showed us the true meaning of courage when they rushed up those stairwells [at the World Trade Center], into those flames, into that cockpit [in Pennsylvania]. In the decade since, a new generation has stepped forward to serve and keep us safe. In their memory, in their name, we will never waiver.”
Earlier this year, U.S. Special Forces killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, fulfilling a pledge made by President Obama and his predecessor, George W. Bush.
In recent days, U.S. officials have warned of what they term credible, but unconfirmed, terrorist threats to coincide with the 10-year anniversary. voa