Julia Muir Essay
Remembering America’s Heroes
By: Julia Muir
On September 11, 2001 the United States was shaken to its core when two hijacked planes slammed into the World Trade Center, another crashed into the Pentagon, and one was forced into a field. The firefighters of New York rushed to the disaster zone to help those that could be saved, before eventually being crushed by the weight of the falling buildings. Search and rescue dogs located survivors hidden beneath fallen debris. The men and women of Flight 93 drove their hijackers into the ground. As long as people remember the attacks of September 11, 2001, they will remember the courage of those who made a difference; it is their acts of love and sacrifice, in the face of great hatred, that will be remembered.
When someone thinks about the heroes of September 11, 2001, often the first people that come to mind are the firefighters. It is difficult to imagine running into a disaster zone with the understanding that once a person goes in, he or she will probably not make it out. It will always be hard to comprehend the bravery of the three hundred and forty three men and women who made that sacrifice. One of those heroes that America lost was a man named Timothy Stackpole. He had spent multiple decades of his life battling fires in New York City (Heroic, 1). In 1998 he suffered from severe burns after he fell through the floor of a burning building on his way to rescue a trapped elderly woman. After many surgeries, painful skin grafts, and months of rehabilitation, Stackpole returned to duty, refusing to take the full pension that his injuries guaranteed him. On September 11, he was a part of a company that entered the south tower of the World Trade Center shortly before it collapsed (Capt., 1). He was one of many heroes who lost their lives because they put the trapped victims before themselves.
Although the attacks of September 11th were bad, they could have been a lot worse. A fourth plane had been hijacked, and if not for the passengers the flight probably would have flown directly into the United States Capitol. Not much is known about what specifically happened on the flight as, over the years, theories have changed, but the one thing that everyone is clear on is that the actions of the passengers thwarted the plans of the hijackers. If the passengers had not been as self-sacrificing, and if they had not fought so hard against their hijackers many more people would have died (Flight, 1). Their courage will always be remembered.
Amongst the lionhearted men and women who sacrificed their lives to pull victims to safety are the countless canine heroes. Dogs were responsible mainly for search and rescue, but one dog in particular was completely unassociated with the first responder unites. Michael Hingson was a blind employee at the World Trade Center. His Seeing Eye dog was a yellow lab named Roselle. The pair was located on the seventy-eighth floor (Dog, 1). Eighteen floors above them at 8:45 in the morning Flight 11 slammed into the north tower of World Trade Center (What, 1). Roselle led Hingson down 1463 steps. The faithful dog calmly, quickly, and quietly led her ward through the disaster zone. She kept moving even when falling debris came crashing down on and around them. The dust cloud threatened to overwhelm her and her master, but Roselle refused to quit. She led her charge through the chaos and down into the subway where the two of them departed to safety (Dog, 1.) Roselle and many other search and rescue dogs are a group of unsung heroes because without them many people would have died beneath the wreckage of some of New York’s largest buildings.
A multitude of people were afraid on September 11, 2001. The scars of hatred were etched into the back of the United States that day, but as Eddie Rickenbacker says “There can be no courage without fear.” There were many courageous men and women who showed the world what was important to them that fateful day. Countless lives were saved by people who would never walk out of the two buildings, and a myriad of lives were lost. One cannot change what happened. All anyone can do is to try to understand, remember, and appreciate the sacrifices of those who made a difference that day.
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