In the summer of 2018, I visited the 9/11 Memorial & Museum. As I wandered through the site, my heart sang at this testament to human dignity, courage, and sacrifice. I was deeply moved by the poet Virgil’s quote on the wall of Memorial Hall: “No day shall erase you from the memory of time.”
I immediately reflected on a similar historical terrorist attack against America, the December 21, 1988, bombing of Pan American flight 103, flying 6 miles above Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 270 people. That day profoundly changed my life, and that of tens of thousands of Americans, Scots, and people from 21 countries.
Until the events of September 11, 2001, this bombing was the single deadliest terrorist attack against America, in U.S. history. This was the specific event that propelled America into the age of modern global terrorism. Yet over three decades later, most of the public has little awareness of terrorists attacking America at 31,000 feet, or that this atrocity still remains the oldest cold case of mass murder in U.S. history.
Walking the Museum’s spaces, I saw the exhibition: The Hunt for Bin Laden depicting the massive U.S. global effort expended over 2 decades, involving countless individuals across dozens of U.S. and allied government intelligence, security, and military agencies, to hold accountable Bin Laden and hundreds of al-Qaeda operatives.