By: Ashley Gadalla

Through the fog and smoke, they could not see.
There was fire, glass, and piles of debris.

With screams and cries, fear ran through the streets.
9/11 should have been a time of defeat.

But from the ash came a glimmer of hope.
Together, America was able to cope.

We remember all who were lost that day,
and all who risked their lives to save.

Their memory will forever live on,
and remind us that only together, we are strong.

Today we commemorate the tragic events that took place 19 years ago right in our own backyard. The 9/11 attacks changed America forever and we mourn the lives taken too soon. We also give thanks to the firefighters, police officers, and citizens who all worked together to try and save each other in such a grueling and difficult time.

This year, despite the Coronavirus’ attempt to keep us all away, Governor Murphy says the memorials should still be responsibly attended with masks and social distancing measures. The outdoor memorial plaza is open with social distancing restrictions. While the reading of victim’s names at Ground Zero will be read virtually, the 9/11 Memorial & Museum will be open with the requirements of face coverings, hand sanitizer, and social distancing. You can also be sure that the lights where the Twin Towers once stood will be there, shining tall and proud. Those who died will not be forgotten, even in the midst of a pandemic.

If the 9/11 attack was meant to dismantle our country, it failed. In the midst of chaos and fear, we were able to put our differences aside and help each other heal. The power of solidarity is a force that cannot be reckoned with. In the same way, despite the many unexpected events of 2020, physical separation will not stop us from metaphorically standing together. As we remember the events, victims, and heroes of 9/11, let’s also remember that we are better and stronger when we are together. The hope and community that emerged from that disaster is still with us today. Through the darkest times is where our lights can shine the brightest. As Alice M. Greenwald, head of the 9/11 Memorial & Museum, put it, “This year, its message of hope, endurance, and resilience are more important than ever.”


About The Author: Ashley Gadalla is a senior at Kean University who is currently a PR and Social Media intern at the Lesniak Institute for American Leadership. She was born and raised in New Jersey and is interested in writing and film, among other things.