Strength of human spirit is a legacy of terrible day

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It seems hardly credible that tomorrow a full 10 years will have passed since that dreadful day on which the Twin Towers collapsed as a result of terrorist attack.

Thousands of innocent lives were lost in New York. More died at the Pentagon and more still on United Airlines Flight 93 as heroic passengers forced it off course from its intended target.

The front-page headline in The News on the following day stated simply: The Moment That Changed The World.

History shows that it was nothing short of that.

The day indelibly branded in the consciousness of billions around the world not just because of the sheer scale of the atrocity but because of the way in which the graphic images of destruction and suffering emerged.

After the first footage of planes slamming into the Twin Towers came still photographs, audio recordings, fresh footage from different angles, the stories of survivors, and heart-rending tributes to those who died. It was as if the horror continued to unfold day after day in terrible slow motion.

So where are we 10 years on? The world has changed, but for the better? In many ways, clearly not.

We are now more than ever concerned at the prospect of attack. We are, undoubtedly as a result of 9/11, embroiled in a war in Afghanistan that has cost the lives of hundreds of British servicemen.

But, crucially, we perhaps also have a strengthened appreciation of the power of the human spirit. If 9/11 stood for infamy, it equally stands for indefatigable courage.

That courage was shown in the blazing Twin Towers, in Washington, and above the skies of rural Pennsylvania. And in the 10 years hence, it has shone through in the lives of millions of people, not only in America but around the globe, not only in service uniform but in all walks of life, who have refused to be bowed by the threat of terrorism.

Tomorrow our hearts go out again those who died and to their loved ones.

Pray God that this world is never again visited by such an evil act as that which 10 years ago changed all of our lives forever.