This Wednesday marks the 18th anniversary of 9/11, a national tragedy in which almost 3,000 people were killed, according to CNN.

For those of you who might not know the details of this atrocity, here are the facts: four planes headed for the West Coast were hijacked by nineteen men linked to Al Qaeda. Two of these planes crashed into the World Trade Center buildings in New York City, one crashed into the Pentagon in Washington, DC and the last plane crashed in Pennsylvania; it is believed the passengers tried to take control of the plane back from the hijackers which caused the crash. Of the 2,977 people who died, 2,753 were killed when American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175 crashed into the World Trade Center buildings, according to CNN.

The live footage of everything unfolding that day, especially the twin towers getting hit and collapsing, is one of the most shocking and heart-wrenching footage of the attack. So many people in the country were affected by this catastrophe. So many lost family members and friends. 9/11 is one of the worst days of the year for many people because it is a reminder of how their lives changed forever.

Most students at our University do not remember the events of 9/11 because they were too young, or not even born yet. It seems, for some, that 9/11 has turned into a joke or a side thought among those in our generation. Most people who were not directly affected see Sept. 11 as just another terrorist attack. However, for those who were deeply impacted by its tragic events, it can be a very somber and sensitive day. The last thing they want to hear is a joke about how 9/11 was an inside job, or other such conspiracy theories.

While it is great to be inquisitive in finding the truth and having your own opinions on topics, there are ways to respectfully convey your opinions that do not involve making fun of a national tragedy. Before you make that joke about 9/11, think about who might hear you. Ask yourself if this is the best way to approach what is a very uncomfortable topic for many.

Rather than dismiss or joke about 9/11, be respectful to the victims and their families. Remember 9/11 in the same way you would remember the death of a loved one or recent mass shootings that have affected our own LMU community. The loss of this many people is unfathomable and we must learn to be considerate and aware of the horrific events that took place 18 years ago.

The Tribute in Light ceremony will take place this Sept. 11 at 8:40 a.m. EST, at the 9/11 Memorial plaza at the World Trade Center site in Manhattan. The commemorative public art installation was first presented six months after 9/11, and continues to take place annually on the night of 9/11.

Our hearts go out to those whose families or friends were taken by 9/11 and we hope that you can get through today with peace, remembering and honoring the memories of those you lost. We at the Loyolan stand with you in paying tribute to those to those who lost their lives, as well as the firefighters, journalists, civilians and others who dropped everything in 2001 to help in any way they could.

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