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Brennan Dufrin Essay

Caught off Guard
By Brennan Dufrin

            The day started out like any other normal day, but ended in a way so disastrous no one could have seen it coming.  Michael Wright was a thirty-year-old account executive working in the World Trade Center that morning.  His day was looking just as mundane as the rest (Michael).  There were so many people just like Michael Wright, going about their mornings like the average American would.  Then, at 8:45 A.M., a 767 crashed into the world trade center and everything changed.  Everything went crazy.  Everybody panicked.  

            September 11, 2001 is a day that will always be remembered in American history.  That one fateful day completely altered so many lives.  So many people lost friends, family, and loved ones.  There were 2,977 deaths in all.  2,977 American lives were ended in that single day because of 19 Al Qaeda hijackers (Death). These 19 men were able to change the course of American history by crashing flight 175 and flight 77 into the twin towers and a Boeing 767 into the pentagon.

            These terrorist attacks caught the whole nation off guard.  The Al Qaeda hijackers had been planning for months.  They had become seemingly average U.S. citizens.  Although some were suspected after questionable actions, most of the 19 made it by without difficulty (America).  They took flight school in America.  They had memberships at the gyms around them.  Therefore, when the time came, they were ready and we were not. 

              Even though America was caught off guard, we responded quickly.  Firefighters did not stop fighting until they saved as many lives as possible.  They fearlessly ran into the burning buildings with no thought for their own safety.   With 343 fatalities, it was the deadliest day in American history for the brave firefighters (Attacks).  Dogs searched through the rubble and found survivors that would have gone unseen until it was too late (Remembering).  Citizens who could perform CPR or provide other assistance went into action (Michael).  Many heroes rose up on 9/11, and many of them ultimately died, but they gave us hope in an otherwise hopeless situation.

             Another group of people that must not be forgotten are the passengers on United Flight 93 (Attacks).  The people on board this flight, which was being delayed, received word of the attacks and suddenly realized, their plane wasn’t returning to an airport.  One can only imagine what it would have been like being on that plane.  Those courageous people knew there was no hope for them, but instead of giving up, they resolved to do whatever they could.  A man named Thomas Burnett shared his last words with his wife and told her, “I know we’re all going to die.  There’s three of us who are going to do something about it.  I love you, honey.” (Attacks).  Many others made their final calls.  In the moments to come, the passengers struggled with the hijackers for control.  Due to this, the plane went out of control, and crashed into a field in Pennsylvania.  There were no survivors on this flight, but another catastrophe was prevented through brave and selfless acts. 

            “None of us will ever forget this day, yet we go forward to defend freedom and all that is good and just in our world.”  These were President Bush’s concluding words from his address to America on 9/11 shortly after the catastrophic events (Text).  I believe that what Bush said embodies how we should think of the fateful day of September 11, 2001.  We must remember Americans like Michael Wright and Thomas Burnett.  We must remember the pain, so that we can guard ourselves from similar future pain.  We must remember the heroes, so that we can be inspired to do acts of bravery when the moment arises.  America was caught off guard, but with the memories of all the lives that were lost in mind, hopefully we can prevent that from ever happening again.

Works Cited


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“My Escape From the 81st Floor of the World Trade Center.” Esquire. N.p., 11 Sept. 2015. Web.             14 Sept. 2015.  wtc-rev/


“Remembering The Bravery Of The 9/11 Rescue Dogs.” The Dodo. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Sept.        2015.


Ross, Brian. “While America Slept: The True Story of 9/11.” ABC News. ABC News Network    , n.d. Web. 14 Sept. 2015. countdown-     911/story?id=14191671


Staff, History .com. “9/11 Attacks.” A&E Television Networks, 2010. Web. 14        Sept. 2015.


“Text of Bush’s Address.” CNN. Cable News Network, 11 Sept. 2001. Web. 14 Sept. 2015.