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Send us your 9/11 reflections

Who would have suspected that when the sun rose over New York City shortly after 6:30 a.m. on Sept. 11, 2001, it would be the last time the skyline included the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center?

Though hard to believe, it has been 20 years since that morning when four commercial airliners were hijacked mid-flight by 19 Al-Qaeda terrorists.

American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the North tower at 8:46 a.m. United Airlines Flight 175 flew into the South tower 17 minutes later. Both of the 110-story towers collapsed before 11 a.m.

American Airlines Flight 77, struck the Pentagon in Arlington at 9:37 a.m. On the final flight, United Airlines Flight 93, which was being flown toward the White House in Washington, D.C., passengers attacked the hijackers in the cockpit and fought over the plane’s controls. It crashed in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, at 10:03 a.m.

In all, the deadliest terrorist attack in history resulted in the deaths of 2,977 people. Included in that statistic are 340 firefighters and 72 law enforcement officers. More than 25,000 were injured or have had substantial long-term health consequences.

Those of us who were alive on 9/11 will never forget where we were, what we were doing and who we were with on that fateful day when as events unfolded the eyes of the nation were glued to television screens. Images from that day — office workers jumping from the towers, an inferno at the Pentagon, the crash scene in Pennsylvania and the heroes who ran toward the disasters — will forever be burned into our collective memories.

Each and every one of us has a unique story about Sept. 11, 2001, and The Smithfield Times wants to publish the reflections of Isle of Wight and Surry residents in next week’s edition. It can be as simple as a few sentences about what you were doing and where you were when you heard the news. Or we welcome longer submissions from readers who are inspired to reflect more deeply on the events of that day and the national mourning that followed.

To take part, send your story to news@smithfieldtimes.com by Sept. 3.