"We rarely understand a moment until it has passed," writes LBJ Professor Jeremi Suri in a historical perspective on Sept. 11, 2001 in The Hill. "That is especially true in times of collective trauma. Twenty years ago, 19 young male terrorists associated with al Qaeda hijacked four planes in the United States, turning them into missiles that devastated lower Manhattan and the Pentagon. One of the planes, probably aimed at the U.S. Capitol, crashed in rural Pennsylvania. In all, 2,977 Americans died on Sept. 11, 2001, in the events that millions of people watched in horror, again and again, on television. "Then-Vice President Dick Cheney described a 'new kind of war against a new kind of enemy.' He warned a shocked nation that the 'terrorists who struck America are ruthless, they are resourceful, and they hide in many countries. They came into our country to murder thousands of innocent men, women and children. There is no doubt they wish to strike again, and they are working to acquire the deadliest of weapons.'"
History, Strategy and Statecraft