“Today our fellow citizens, our way of life, our very freedom came under attack.”

–  President George W. Bush

On September 11, 2001, terrorists hijacked two United Airlines flights and two American Airlines flights. These flights were crashed into the Twin Towers in Manhattan, New York, the Pentagon in Washington, DC, and a field in Shanksville, PA. These attacks shocked and stunned the American public and sent our military on a manhunt to find, and subsequently kill Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of the attacks.

It has been 15 years since the attacks on 9/11 and the pain for the families who lost loved ones is still very real. Then-New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, on the day of the attacks, said “We will rebuild. We’re going to come out of this stronger than before, politically stronger, economically stronger. The skyline will be made whole again.”

Veterans coming home from being overseas on duty have unique challenges. For those who survived the attacks, be it civilians, military personnel, or first responders, the challenges they face are unlike most. Mothers like Mary Fetchet who lost her son in the attack and first responders like Port Authority Police Department Lt. William Keegan, Jr. who led rescue and recovery missions, live with the reminder of how the attacks personally altered their lives and how moving forward doesn’t mean forgetting what happened. These men and women are veterans of a war on American soil.

In addition to memorials, vigils, and tributes to those who perished on September 11 across the country, there are three that will take place in Manhattan.

The 9/11 Memorial Plaza Ceremony will take place at 8:39 a.m. Six minutes of silence will be observed for when the Twin Towers fell as well as when the Pentagon was attacked and Flight 93 went down in Shanksville, PA. The ceremony will also feature the reading of the names of victims in the attacks and the attack on the World Trade Center in 1993. Family members of victims in 1993 and 2001 are invited to tour the Memorial Museum privately from 7:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

“Tribute in Light,” an art installation at the 9/11 Memorial site located at 200 Liberty Street, will light up the New York City skyline starting at 6:00 p.m. on September 11 and will shine throughout the night. The twin light beams, which symbolize the Twin Towers, are four miles in length and can be seen anywhere within a 60-mile radius on a clear night. In addition, the Memorial will be open to the public from 3:00 p.m.-midnight to view the “Tribute in Light.”

The Bell of Hope will ring at 8:46 a.m. at The Parish of Trinity Wall Street in Lower Manhattan to remember the victims of the attacks. At 3:30 p.m. the church will hold a memorial ceremony honoring rescue and recovery workers and first responders. Names of those who died helping in the line of duty will be read during the ceremony in the St. Paul’s Courtyard.

The Purple Heart Foundation is committed to assisting not just veterans of foreign wars, but all veterans who have served our country on the home front. Show your support for these brave men and women by making a one-time or monthly pledge to ensure veterans continue to get the support and benefits they deserve by clicking here.