Twenty years have passed since September 11, 2001, when 19 terrorists affiliated with the radical Islamist terror organization al Qaida flew hijacked aircraft into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York and into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. Passengers in a fourth plane attempted to take it back from the hijackers and it plummeted into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

Some 2,977 Americans were killed in the attacks, and many others later succumbed to injury or illness sustained on that terrible day. The United States invaded Afghanistan, from whence the attacks originated, and overthrew the Taliban regime that had sheltered al Qaida’s leader, Osama bin Laden. In March 2003, the U.S. invaded Iraq.

The march of time has made the events of that September day recede from memory, as the intervening years brought other challenges — a severe recession, deepening political and cultural division, a global pandemic —and the accumulated joys and burdens of everyday living. The fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban has brought the global war on terror back into focus in recent weeks, but in large part, America has moved on.

Yet, for some Sisters residents, the events surrounding September 11, 2001, mark major milestones in their lives. Some would fight to stave off the threat of further attacks; some would work to heal the wounds and salve the scars left by the attacks. Some have played significant roles in shaping a post-9/11 world. Their memories remain sharp and strong. In this edition of The Nugget, we tell the stories of several of those local people, and we thank them for sharing their memories of events that shaped the lives of every one of us living here in Sisters today.