Tomorrow marks the 20th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City; the Pentagon outside of Washington, DC; and the plane that crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. This was the deadliest foreign attack on US soil in history.
Like many Americans, I can recall with such accuracy where I was when I heard the first plane hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center. At the time, I was working at Integic in Chantilly, Virginia which was a stone’s throw from Dulles International Airport. Our initial thought was, “It must be bad weather. Maybe it was a small plane. It must have been an accident.”
We realized it was not an accident when further news reported planes hitting the South Tower and the Pentagon, as well as the crash in Shanksville, PA. My colleagues and I came out of our office building and stared at the sky for several minutes trying to process what was happening.
As we stood there, we noticed that an eerie silence replaced the typical sound of airplane engines constantly leaving and arriving at Dulles Airport. However, in that silence were the deafening thoughts in our minds wondering and thinking, “Are there more airplanes that will do this?” “Are we in danger?” “Are my family, friends, and loved ones safe?”
Before the attacks on 9/11, I believed there was a sense of safety and protection that Americans enjoyed. Of course, we were aware of conflicts going on all over the world, but in general, most Americans had a feeling of safety, security, and maybe a level of invincibility living on US soil.
As the day went on, we remained glued to the news waiting to hear more about what was happening. We all had so many questions, all stemming from a new fear of uncertainty. People were desperate to understand how our lives will change from this point forward. How was America going to change? Will we be prepared to prevent another attack like this from happening?
9/11 changed the trajectory for our country forcing us to prioritize the safety and protection of our homeland. We came together in so many ways. We took care of and helped each other in a way that we had not seen in a long time. We became a nation undivided with a fierce desire to protect our own.
To do this, America has spent the last 20 years becoming smarter and leveraging game-changing technologies and tactics to protect our country. The events of 9/11 were the impetus for starting Aveshka. It was my personal mission to create a company where its primary focus was to take on work that would protect the homeland.
Now, in 2021, I believe we are more prepared than we were two decades ago, due to the kinetic pace that technologies and tactics change. However, I can also argue that it makes us vulnerable as it constantly changes the warfare landscape. It is critical to stay one step ahead of outside actors. Doing so on top of a global pandemic and the social and political events that have taken place over the last 18 months, there is no doubt that security must remain at the forefront of the nation’s agenda.
As I reflect on the last 20 years, I am grateful for the incredible strides we’ve made to defend our nation and the great wins our country has achieved since we came under attack that fateful September morning. I have deep gratitude for those who continue to work every day to serve, help, and protect our citizens.
Today and always, I hope we never forget the courageous first responders and good Samaritans who selflessly risked their lives to help their fellow man when faced in a situation of complete chaos and destruction. In their honor, I am renewing my commitment to fortify and protect our nation, communities, and citizens through our work at Aveshka.