The infamous attack on Pearl Harbor was a surprise military strike on the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor on Oahu, Hawaii, on the morning of December 7, 1941.
When President Roosevelt spoke to a joint session of Congress the next day, he called December 7 “a date which will live in infamy”.
Fast-forward 60 years
On September 11, 2001, a total of 19 men affiliated with an Islamic extremist group calling itself al-Qaeda hijacked four commercial passenger airliners en route to California from Logan International Airport at Boston, Dulles International at Washington, and Newark airport at New York City.
The planes were loaded with fuel as the hijackers circled back and intentionally crashed two of the airliners into the World Trade Center in New York City — one plane into each tower — resulting in the collapse of both buildings.
The hijackers crashed a third airliner into the Pentagon in Arlington County, Virginia, near Washington, D.C. Passengers and members of the flight crew on the fourth jetliner attempted to regain control of their plane, but the hijackers crashed the plane into a field near Shanksville in rural Somerset County, Pennsylvania.
In addition to the 19 hijackers, 2,974 people — mostly civilians — died in the attacks:
- 246 died on the planes
- 2,603 died in New York City
- 125 died at the Pentagon
The terrorists’ main weapons were Leatherman multi-function hand tools.
Remembering the heroes
The suicide attacks created thousands of victims, but also many heroes, some unsung.
Among the dead were 343 New York City firefighters, 23 New York City police officers, and 37 Port Authority police officers.
The attacks were immediately overwhelming to the people of the United States who who found them abhorrent and their perpetrators beneath contempt.
Muslim organizations in the United States condemned the attacks. The American public felt great gratitude toward uniformed public-safety first responders, especially firefighters who had taken great risks to save lives.
The attacks horrified the world. France’s Le Monde newspaper headlined: Nous sommes tous Américains.
Six years later
Remembering the heroes of 9/11 on the sixth anniversary of the attacks, Second Life residents marked the day in 2007 at a new September 11th Memorial.
The names of the 2,974 people from 82 countries who were lost on 9/11 are inscribed into the memorial according to their location on that fateful morning.
I had to see it
The monument, which is shaped as several large engraved walls reminiscent of the Vietnam War Memorial in RL Washington, D.C., is a place of beauty that inspires great reverence and recalled emotions.
It rains perpetually on the land as clouds gather overhead and thunder rolls across the sky.
There was a steady stream of Second Life residents teleporting in while I was there.
They obviously were awestruck by the reverential beauty as they chatted solemnly and respectfully, clearly moved by the display.
The original concept for the memorial is attributed to llvllagic Merlin. Winfried Ferraris owns the land while Liam Kanno designed and built the emotional tribute. Kanno was best known previously as chair of the Obama for President campaign in SL. Sundra Petrov also worked on the project.
It was a diverse team:
- Winfried Ferraris is from Amsterdam
- Liam Kanno is from New York
- llvllagic Magic is from Indiana
- Sundra Petrov is from California
“Liam Kanno was our phenomenal builder,” Petrov explained. “He graciously donated his time to the project.”
“This is a permanent Memorial and the donations go to cover the land cost,” Petrov said. “Those [names on the wall] with stars had photos available to place on the wall.”
“Sundra’s role was for the most part in PR and promotion,” Winfried Ferraris said.
“Our hope is to offer the families, friends, loved ones and visitors from all over the world a place in SL to come and pay tribute to the victims,” the memorial developers say in a notecard brochure at the site. “A place to gather with those affected and share as a way of healing and honoring those who lost their lives.”
The notecard is accompanied by a white rose given to all who visit and, as you might imagine, many of those roses end up at the base of the wall where a particular victim is commemorated.
“You can leave it on any spot to your likings on the memorial,” the developers say. They have left build permission open to facilitate dropping of tributes in front of the wall.
Visitors also leave comments about 9/11 at the memorial and those are posted on the memorial’s blog.
As you might expect, there also is a box for donations to help defer the costs of operating the the memorial.
“This memorial will continue to stand,” the developers say, “just as our hearts will always hold those listed on the walls dear.”
“We have had about 1,000 people visit here just in the last 36 hours,” llvllagic Merlin reported.
“We hope it brings comfort to those visiting,” Sundra Petrov said.
“This is a place for people to comfort them in light of the events of September 11th, 2001,” Winfried Ferraris said.
A moment of silence and then the people spoke