Today marks the 17th anniversary of an attack on American soil that brought life to a war that is still being fought. At 8:46 am on September 11, 2001, Al Qaeda terrorists crash a hijacked Boeing 767 holding 92 passengers into floors 93-99 of the North Tower of the World Trade Center (WTC). At 9:03 am, hijackers crash United Airlines Flight 175 into floors 75-85 of the WTC’s South Tower, and at 9:37 am terrorists aboard Flight 77 crash the plane into the western façade of the Pentagon; 2,937 people were killed from the initial attack.
Within one full recruitment year, our military saw a total of 570,490 enlisted men and women between the ages of 18-24, as well as an additional 8,276 in 2003, both a major increase from 555,786 enlisted service members in 2001. Americans experienced possibly the greatest surge to serve and defend their country since attacks on Pearl Harbor. Unfortunately, these moments of patriotism and love of our military share a disturbing correlation: They happen during some of our most sorrowful moments in history, and rarely during some of our most triumphant.
The attacks that took place on this day, 17 years ago, paved the way for further discussion on how we spark a sense of Americanism in our citizens, most considerably our youth, and keep that flame alive the remaining 364 days of the year. How do we promote an idea of selfless service while also encouraging citizens to maintain the standard of enlistment acceptance if they are ever called? How do we curb the statistic that 71% of people 18 to 24 years of age are unfit to serve?
As an organization, AMVETS aims to do so through many programs that promote selfless service, encourage an interest in learning about one’s American heritage, and developing a general set of values and principles that we describe as Americanism. We are committed to doing our part in ensuring that this great nation flourishes and continues to be a country its citizens are proud to call home. This Patriot Day, we call on fellow Americans to the same.