Members of police and fire departments in and around New York City responded to the Twin Towers, determined to do all they could to save lives. Their heroic efforts did save lives, and it also cost many of them their own lives.
Members of the Coast Guard and ordinary citizens stepped up as well, helping to evacuate people to safety. Sightseeing tour boats, tug boats, coast guard boats, and private citizens in their personal water craft descended upon the harbor, trying to do their part to aid those trying to flee the chaos.
Doctors, nurses and everyday people became heroes too, ignoring their own safety and going to the aid of others. Those that did not go to ground zero brought food, water and supplies and began passing it out to first responders.
September 11, 2001 showed us the the worst of people, the utter inhumanity and disregard for human life that some are capable of. It also showed us the best in people, a willingness to put your own welfare aside and reach out to others in need. It showed us that the citizens of New York, Washington DC and the passengers of United Airlines Flight 93, along with Americans across the nation can go from everyday people to heroes in times of crisis. It showed us what being an American is all about.