Without looking at a calendar, you know it was a Tuesday. You know it was morning. You might even know the time — 8:46 a.m.

That’s when a commercial jet flew into the north tower of the World Trade Center. And, for the next 17 minutes, you knew hope. Hope for those aboard the plane, hope for those between floors 93 and 99, hope that it was just a terrible accident.

At 9:03 a.m., when a second plane slammed into the south tower, it seemed that all hope was lost. In that moment, America was forever changed.

Today, as we remember those who lost their lives that day and care for those who survived with scars both visible and unseen, we want you to also remember the resolve we as a nation shared on Sept. 12.

Four sets of hijackers took their aim at the heart of America, hell-bent on bringing her to her knees. But, when the smoke cleared and the dust had settled, their failure was evident. We were a nation reborn. A giant awakened. A people united.

America was bursting at the seams with patriotism. You were no longer white or black, rich or poor, Democrat or Republican — you were an American. The camaraderie was palpable. We stood together as one against a common enemy.

But time has a way of rounding sharp edges. That sense of togetherness gave way to personal interests and political ideologies. Now, 20 years later, America feels more divided than ever.

So, today let’s honor the lives lost that day, pay tribute to those who risked everything to help others in need, and salute those who went to war to defend our freedom. Then tomorrow, let’s again awaken with collective admiration that we live in the greatest nation in the world and fight like hell to keep it that way.