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Today marks the 20th anniversary since terrorists attacked our country on our own soil, killing nearly 3,000 people.

Nineteen terrorists hijacked four commercial jetliners to fly them into U.S. landmarks.

Two crashed into the two towers of the World Trade Center, killing 2,753 people. That included 343 New York City firefighters, 23 New York City police officers and 37 officers at the Port Authority, according to CNN.

The victims, more than 75 percent men, ranged in age from 2-85.

A third plane crashed in the Pentagon, killing 184 people. The fourth hijacking was thwarted by some 40 passengers/crew on United Airlines Flight 93. But in attempting to take control of the plane, they lost their lives as the plane crashed into a field.

Those were just some of the heroes on that day whom we must never forget.

But there are also lessons that we must never forget to keep our country safe and prevent such an atrocity from happening again.

Two decades later, we are safer in some ways. Flying on commercial planes, for instance, is safer due to changes that were made. The changes may have made flying more cumbersome, but they help to reduce the chance of such hijackings again.

But 20 years later, new threats have emerged. Security experts warn the possibility of cyber- terrorism is growing. They have the potential to shut down computer systems, wreck the economy and cripple our military.

Our country needs to be vigilant against such new emerging threats.

But today, on the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, we will keep our focus on the lives lost and the heroism performed. Some saved other lives, while others died trying.

We owe them all a debt of gratitude for their service to our country.

News Tribune

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