UCLA Chancellor Gene Block issued a statement reflecting on the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Sept. 11, 2001 was a painful and pivotal day for our nation. Twenty years ago, airplanes hijacked by terrorists crashed into the World Trade Center towers in New York, the Pentagon in Virginia and a field in Pennsylvania. As the Twin Towers fell, grief, confusion and fear set in across the country. The United States would be forever changed.
Nearly 3,000 people from just under 100 countries were cruelly murdered in the 9/11 attacks. While the consequences of that dreadful day remain with us — and while we still struggle to make sense of the attacks and their aftermath — the 20th anniversary of this tragedy is a moment to remember and honor those we lost. The;9/11 Memorial and Museumwill have a special commemoration tomorrow that will be broadcast on all major television networks. I also urge you to read about the work of UCLA alumnus Paul Murdoch, a Los Angeles architect who helped design a national memorial at the Pennsylvania crash site.
The pain and despair of 9/11 are seared into my memory and the memories of millions who lived through that sad day. But many of us also recall the immense courage of the first responders who rushed towards danger to save others; the compassion of people who welcomed fleeing strangers into their homes and businesses; and the selflessness of those who traveled from across the country to aid in rescue, recovery and rebuilding efforts. Somehow, this horrible tragedy brought forth something beautiful in so many individuals.
Our nation has seen difficult days since Sept. 11, 2001. We will, no doubt, see difficult days in the future. As we meet that future, as a nation and as individuals, I hope that we can find within ourselves some of the courage, compassion and selflessness that shined so brightly in the wake of the terrorist attacks 20 years ago. Those same qualities of character will give us strength in the face of any challenge.