This week America will mark the eleventh anniversary of the tragic terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, Pentagon and the crash of Flight 93 in Pennsylvania. None of us will ever forget where we were or who we were with when we heard the terrible news of the attacks. Nearly 3,000 innocent people lost their lives that day. Three thousand is a big number, and it is important to remember that each of those 3,000 have a name and loved ones left behind. Let’s remember a few of those taken on September 11:
· Joseph Agnello was a firefighter with Ladder Company 118 in Brooklyn Heights with a 36th birthday coming up in October of 2001. He was not a man who was defined by his job — he was a guy who loved his kids, his dogs, and his wife. Agnello was a devoted husband and the father of two sons, Salvatore, who was just 3 when his father died heroically, and Vincent who was just 19 months.
· Rosemary Chapa had worked in the Pentagon for 20 years, the last few of her life as a high-ranking civilian employee of the Defense Intelligence Agency. Her office was moved to a newly renovated section of the Pentagon just one month before the plane struck the same section on 9/11. Though brisk and efficient in the office, at home Chapa was a humble woman who shopped for herself in discount stores. Rosemary and her husband Jose Chapa have five children.
· Todd Beamer was a passenger on Flight 93 headed to San Francisco. Beamer was heading to a business meeting when his plane went down in rural Pennsylvania. His wife of seven years described Beamer as a loving and athletic man. Lisa Beamer said she hadn't been watching TV that morning and was unaware of what was going on until a friend called and asked if Todd was safe. When news broke of the Pennsylvania crash Lisa said her heart sank.
In an effort to remember those lost, September 11th is now a day of national service known as Patriot Day. On this day, Americans are encouraged to perform some act of service to honor the memory of those lost. Even though Arkansas is a long way away from New York or Washington, we can all relate to loss and as Americans we have a responsibility to honor the sons and daughter, husbands and wives, friends, fathers and mothers who were lost on September 11, 2001. God bless their families, and God bless their memories.