COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Citizens of Colorado Springs, first responders, military personnel, and special guests gathered for the 9/11 Day of Remembrance and Community Commemoration at Memorial Park Wednesday morning.
Cadet First Class Hanna Born was one of the morning's speakers.
Born was just 3 years old when she was sitting in the Pentagon daycare center with her sister when the building was attacked. She remembers every last detail.
"I still remember the fire alarms sounding, the kids crying, and the utter confusion as everyone desperately tried to figure out what had happened. But I also remember the feeling of relief I felt when Marines, soldiers, sailors, and airmen suddenly rushed into the daycare center to help the workers lead and carry us to safety,” said Born.
As a toddler, Born found her meaning in life. She knew she had a duty to become one of the brave souls that helped her and her sister. She says she was able to see the light on our country’s darkest day.
"When the world witnessed the worst of humanity, I witnessed first hand how the best of humanity can still shine through,” she said.
Retired Air Force General Richard Meyers said the tragedy altered the world everyone knew.
"It really changed national security dynamics,” he said.
Both Born and Meyers agree that 18 years later -- when there are now people who can drive, vote and serve without having witnessed the devastation of 9/11 brought -- these memorials are more important than ever.
"Young people need to understand that," said Meyers. "To know, now we're here, 2019, and we're trying to make decisions going forward. But if you don't understand where we've been, I don't think you're going to have very good judgment."
Born says it’s important that we know how lucky we are, as Americans, but it's also important that we keep our vulnerabilities at the forefront of our minds.
"Although we are privileged to feel safe on our homeland, we can't take it for granted, because that sense of security can be shattered in an instant,” said Born.
The anniversary marks 18 years since al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked planes and attacked the twin towers in New York City and the Pentagon in Virginia. Terrorists also hijacked a plane that was headed toward Washington D.C., which was overtaken by passengers and crashed into a field in Pennsylvania.
9/11 was the deadliest terrorist attack in human history and the single deadliest incident for first responders in the United States, with nearly 3,000 victims.