It has been 18 years since that terrible day in 2001.
Eighteen years since that morning when four U.S. jetliners were hijacked by terrorists we soon learned were part of Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network.
Two of the flights crashed into the Twin Towers of New York's World Trade Center, bringing down those magnificent buildings—along with another in the complex—and killing more than 2,700 people in the buildings and on the planes. Several other buildings in the area were damaged as well and the Wall Street financial district would remain a virtual ghost town for weeks.
The third plane crashed into the Pentagon, tearing a large hole in the side of America's military headquarters and claiming 184 in all.
The last airliner, reportedly headed for either the U.S. Capitol or the White House, crashed near Shanksville, Penn., after passengers and crew heroically attempted to wrest control from the hijackers.
Some 2,996 people—including 19 hijackers—died in the attacks that day. Thousands more were injured.
And the man who boasted of planning and ordering the attacks—Osama bin Laden—was finally brought to justice.
On May 2, 2011, under the cover of darkness, U.S. helicopters ferried a crack team of U.S. Navy SEALS to the walled compound in Pakistan that served as bin Laden's last hideout.
In less than 40 minutes it was all over. Bin Laden was dead. Yes, it took nearly 10 years to find Osama bin Laden. But find him we did. And he paid the price he deserved for orchestrating the deadly attacks of September 11, 2001.
As will all who attack this great country.
In the hours, days and weeks following the attacks, our nation was as one. We came together. We were united.
We could use more of that in a country divided by politics, culture and ideology. Hopefully, we can find our way back without another tragedy to show us the way.
Today, we remember nearly 3,000 souls taken far too soon. We pray for them as well as for their families and friends.
And for our nation. God bless America.