September 11th, 2016 marks the fifteen-year anniversary of the largest terrorist attack ever to take place on American soil. Annual memorials and ceremonies will dutifully commemorate the tragedy and its victims.


In this recollection, every one of us is presented with an important opportunity for deeper reflection on how we can offset 9/11’s damaging legacy together. For more stories from 9/11 first responders, be sure to also check out Jonah Markowitz's portrait/reporting component to the "Through The Dust" project, on Newsweek: 

Somewhere along the line, in these 15 years since that tragic day, we lost the truth of what happened, we lost the purpose of it. There was a unity message in that event. It’s a shame that we did not embrace that opportunity that would have changed our country and humanity for a lifetime.

If you want to survive 9/11, then you will have to hold on to that amazing moment in time when you had the purest response, and we were all together as ONE. We had the chance to grab and hold to something that would have changed us FOREVER – if everybody would have just kept that faith and kept that feeling. For a period of time, there was no separation between us: there were no whites, no blacks, no poor, no rich. We were just ONE. It broke down globally.

That would be something to hold on and propel to humanity to the next level.
— Anthony Miranda, Sergeant NYPD Retired