Most of us remember where we were when we heard the tragic news of the four hijacked airplanes crashing into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
Many Americans will gather in New York to attend a ceremony at the National September 11 Memorial, built where the twin towers of the World Trade Center once stood.
Similar ceremonies will be held at the Pentagon, in Shanksville and across the country. Nearly 3,000 innocent people died that day, victims of terrorists with a mission to destroy the heart, soul and spirit of America.
American Airlines Flight 11 was deliberately crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center at 8:46 a.m. Many who heard the news of the first attack thought it was a tragic accident.
We knew it was no accident when we heard that United Airlines Flight 175 crashed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center at 9:03 a.m.
Firefighters, police officers and first responders poured into the World Trade Center, hoping to save the lives of the thousands who were in the buildings.
Hijackers crashed American Airlines Flight 77 into the Pentagon, located near Washington, D.C. at 9:37 a.m. About 20 minutes later, the South Tower of the World Trade Center collapsed at 9:59 a.m.
As these events were taking place in New York and at the Pentagon, passengers on United Airlines Flight 93 were engaged in a battle against the hijackers who had taken control of their plane.
Instead of striking a target in Washington, the hijackers crashed Flight 93 into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania at 10:03 a.m.
The North Tower of the World Trade Center collapsed 25 minutes later at 10:28 a.m. By that time, people around the country were gathered around televisions and radios, trying to find out what had happened.
I was on the road that day, driving down a country road behind a truck. The driver and I were both listening to details of the terror attacks as they were unfolding.
Across the country, my younger sister was in labor with her first child. Instead of trying to postpone the birth until the next day, she chose to give birth to bring brightness to a very dark day.
Instead of being destroyed, the spirit of America was awakened. Across the country, people joined together in tribute to the lives lost. They gathered in churches, on fields and at community centers to mourn and to remember.
American flags were purchased and flown in record numbers by people of every generation, a tribute to the strength of our great nation.
The names of each of the victims of 9/11 are inscribed into the bronze panels around the National September 11 Memorial.
Those names are read each year at memorial events across the country and held in the hearts of Americans and patriots around the world.
In locations throughout America and around the world, 9/11 Heroes Run events are held each year. The mission of these events is to honor the sacrifices made by the heroes of Sept. 11, 2001 and the wars that have followed.
The mission of our generation is twofold: to never forget the events of 9/11 and to teach future generations what happened that day.
Like many events in history, the details of 9/11 we remember will likely never be taught in schools the way they are etched upon our hearts.
On the day now known as Patriot Day, children may be given coloring sheets with a flag or the Statue of Liberty, but they won't be taught about the spirit of America's people.
Today's children may also be taught that 9/11 was America's fault. In a misguided effort to be politically correct, the word terrorists will most likely never be heard in classrooms in reference to 9/11.
As we observe this solemn anniversary with flags flown, moments of silence and ceremonies, let us never forget the fire of patriotism that burned in our hearts and souls on September 11, 2001.
That spirit must be taught to the next generation and to future generations. As parents and grandparents, our mission is to teach future generations to love America for the good we have done and continue to do in our country and around the world.
God bless America on 9/11 and every day from one patriot to many others. May the spirit of American burn in your heart and soul and be witnessed by the good you do for others.