This day 21 years ago — multiple planes were hijacked by terrorists in the US. They used those aeroplanes, carrying unsuspecting civilian passengers, to take down New York’s iconic World Trade Center towers and crash into the Pentagon. The one likely destined for the Capitol came down in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
As a stunned America — and the world at large — looked on, thousands were instantly killed, maimed and burnt beyond recognition. Those horrific images from 9/11 turned out to be earth-shattering. Nothing would be the same ever after.
Those TV screen images of smoke billowing from the Twin Towers and the Pentagon moved something deep and profound in all of us. As a kid I watched those images, which seemed straight out of a Hollywood movie. It was only much later that I realised what a cataclysmic world event it was.
As jets were used as passenger-filled missiles two decades ago -- this day -- shock, sadness, fear and anger gripped the world. The subsequent War on Terror left an equally horrid destruction in its wake.
As Americans remember 9/11 today with moments of silence, readings of victims’ names, volunteer work and other tributes, I visited Ground Zero earlier this month.
Tributes pour in
On Sunday, US Vice President Kamala Harris is due at the National Sept 11 Memorial in New York to pay tribute on behalf of America.
Elsewhere US President Joe Biden plans to speak and lay a wreath at the Pentagon, while first lady Jill Biden is scheduled to speak in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
It all loops back to 9.11.2001 and the attacks that day, which inflicted a devastating emotional toll on Americans and the world alike.
Then, like now, the sheer importance of 9/11 transcends age, geographic and political differences and unites the world in a collective spirit of solidarity and humanity.
21 years on — it is perhaps time to reflect and reconnect on the lessons learnt in these two decades.