In Their Own Words – What 9/11 Means to the Servicemembers Who Lived It
By Wes O’Donnell
Managing Editor of In Military, InCyberDefense and In Space News. Veteran, U.S. Army & U.S. Air Force.
It’s been said that September 11th, 2001 was our generation’s Pearl Harbor, our defining moment. But that bold and shameful attack against America in 2001 was different from Pearl Harbor in one key aspect: Most casualties on that day were civilians.
It was like a dagger in the heart of the world’s most preeminent military power. If we can’t even protect our citizens, how can we be expected to honor our alliances? It was clear then, that the 20th century was over. Whether the United States would maintain its status as the world’s sole superpower going into a new century would be decided on what our next actions would be.
What followed was one of the largest reorganizations in U.S. military history. The U.S. had to pivot away from training to fight nation-states and learn how to fight terrorists who didn’t play by the rules – asymmetrical warfare.
But what’s often lost in the big history of 9/11 are the individual stories.