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Twenty Years Later, the Effects of 9/11 Remain

September 10, 2021
mgh ihp logo over a sketch of the american flag in teal

It began at 8:46 a.m. on September 11, 2001. That was when the first plane that left Logan Airport crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center killing everyone on board and hundreds inside the building. By the end of that morning, a second plane from Boston had crashed into the World Trade Center South Tower, a third into the Pentagon, and a fourth into a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, when the passengers tried to wrestle the plane from the hijackers. Many of us can remember where we were at that time and how this event forever changed our lives.  

On Saturday, we will mark the 20th anniversary of that awful day in American history when we were attacked by terrorists resulting in the deaths of almost 3,000 individuals. This attack was intended to sabotage the United States, change who we are as a country, and extinguish the American spirit. Instead, we were reminded to appreciate even more the freedoms we have and have redoubled our commitment to the respect for human life over the past two decades.  

So many people lost their lives and so many first responders gave their lives in their service to others without regard for their own safety. We can’t thank them enough for their sacrifice.  

It prompted hundreds of young men and women to enlist in the military to protect the freedoms threatened on that day. Along with their colleagues already in the armed forces, they fought for all of us so we can maintain the way of life we value. Many lost their lives in this struggle while others came home with severe disabilities. All were shaped by a war that lasted far longer than anyone expected. We can never repay them for all they have done to keep us safe and protect us from future attacks.

Over these past 20 years, the IHP has had countless veterans graduate, while other students went directly from Commencement into the military. We are proud to have counted many veterans in our faculty ranks. Several current students are veterans, and the Veterans Administration has designated the Institute as a Yellow Ribbon school so we can use its matching scholarship program for them to continue serving their fellow citizens as health care providers. I hope every military member and veteran knows how much they are appreciated, today and every day, for their selflessness.  

September 11 is a day of reflection, remembrance, and appreciation for all of those who served our country and those who continue to protect us in myriad ways – a reminder of those who have given so much so we can follow our passions. Just as many of the beams in the World Trade Center bent but did not break, this 20th anniversary is a time to reflect on the resolve of the American people. I hope you take some time tomorrow to remember the people who died, their families, and the resilience of the American people.

Paula