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KT McFarland: 20 years after 9/11 it's like we've been gut-punched again. Still, don't count Americans out

5 30 99
11.09.2021

Former deputy national security advisor weighs in on holding government officials accountable for the crisis in Afghanistan on 'Fox News Primetime'

September 11, 2001 began as a glorious day in New York – crystal clear, with the crisp cool air of early autumn. I had just dropped off my two youngest children at school and was on a bus on my way to lower Manhattan.

As I looked out the window, I saw black smoke billowing from one of the Twin Towers. Within a few minutes I saw the second plane hit the other tower. I knew then this was no random accident of pilots getting off course and hitting the tallest buildings in the city. We were under attack.

My initial reaction, like so many New Yorkers, was to find my family. I tried calling their schools but cell phones weren’t working. The same thing happened when I called my husband’s office near Grand Central Terminal.

When I finally found a phone booth, there were long lines. I was quicker on foot and started walking back uptown.

AFGHANISTAN WAR VETERAN GETS EMOTIONAL RECALLING 9/11: ‘AMERICA IS DAMN LUCKY’ FOR HEROIC SERVICE MEMBERS

Stores and offices were being evacuated, for fear of bombs. Mayor Rudy Giuliani was closing Manhattan’s tunnels and bridges and streets were shutting down to make way for emergency responders. People were told to go home and stay home.

When I reached my daughter's school, I learned her homeroom teacher had left to search for her husband at his office in the Twin Towers. The principal was closing the school, but many of the parents couldn’t be reached to come pick up their children. I took some of my daughter’s friends to our house for safekeeping.

Everyone has their own unique September 11th story, but we all shared a common sense of being gut-punched. Who were these people who attacked us? Why did they hate us? Were we now at war, with an enemy that deliberately attacked innocents? Would we ever be safe again? What would this mean for our nation? Our families? Our children? Confusion and despair hung over us like a shroud, just as the dust cloud created by the Towers’ collapse lingered for days.

FILE – The second tower of the World Trade Center bursts into flames after being hit by a hijacked airplane in New York in this September 11, 2001 file photograph. The Brooklyn bridge is seen in the foreground. REUTERS/Sara K. Schwittek (REUTERS/Sara K. Schwittek)

Those iconic pictures of the Towers burning, and then collapsing, still have the power to terrify many of us. But what happened in the days and months and years that followed September 11th, 2001 has came to define us.

ICONIC 9/11 PHOTOS AND THE PHOTOGRAPHERS WHO SHOT THEM: HERE ARE THEIR STORIES

In the days after September 11th, while we were still shell shocked and grieving, seemingly helplessness in the face of a surprise attack, a different narrative emerged. We started seeing what the American people were made of.

It was common people doing uncommonly brave and noble things -- naturally, instinctively,........

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