No one can forget that infamous early morning of Sept. 11, 2001, when commercial aircraft were used as flying bombs in order to cause a reign of terror on the United States.
Islamic terrorists and members of the al-Qaida terrorist network hijacked four American-owned airplanes.
Two of the aircraft, United Airlines Flight 175 and American Airlines Flight 11, targeted New York City's World Trade Center towers, and the third aircraft, American Airlines Flight 77, was used to slam into the Pentagon in Northern Virginia.
The fourth aircraft crashed in a field near Shanksville in Somerset County, Penn., never reaching its intended destination. Some believe United Airlines Flight 93 had a target of either the U.S. Capitol building or the White House.
Excluding the 19 hijackers, 2,974 innocent people lost their lives that day and another 24 are still deemed missing and presumed dead. Of that number killed, 246 were on the four planes, 2,603 in New York City in the towers and on the ground, and 125 at the Pentagon. All of the fatalities in the unprovoked attacks were civilians except for 55 military personnel who died in the Pentagon.
The victims who died in the attacks were not just Americans. They were from 90 different nations, of all colors, creeds and religions.
By a joint resolution signed on Dec. 18, 2001, President George W. Bush was authorized and requested by Congress to designate Sept. 11 of each year as "Patriot Day." On Sept. 4, 2003, the president signed the proclamation.
In the weeks and months that followed the attack, citizens of this great nation displayed their patriotism by flying the American flag. Everyone wanted to show their remembrance of what occurred on Sept. 11 and also show their pride in America.
Sadly, those flags our citizens so proudly displayed to show their patriotism have all but disappeared. Not many residents take the time nowadays to fly their flags. It isn't that these citizens are unpatriotic. They just don't want to take that extra effort to take the flag out of their closet and display for all to see.
I want to tell everyone it doesn't take a national disaster to occur in order to inspire people to display the flag. The American flag, the great symbol of our nation, can be flown year-round. It can even be flown at night as long as a light shines on it.
I challenge each resident of our community to take the time and effort to join the "Fly The Flag" campaign.
Show your pride in which some have, over the past few years, taken for granted. Tomorrow, take the initiative to fly an American flag. Be proud to be a citizen of this great nation and display your patriotism by flying the American flag. Be proud that you are an American.