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Tomorrow marks the 15th anniversary of the worst terrorist attack ever on American soil. Here are nine things you should know about what happened in the aftermath of the events on September 11, 2001:

1. It took 99 days—until December 19, 2001—for the fires at Ground Zero to be extinguished.2. Cleanup at Ground Zero wasn’t officially completed until May 30, 2002. It took 3.1 million hours of labor to clean up 1.8 million tons of debris at a total cost of cleanup of $750 million.

3. There were 20 people pulled from the rubble in the two days after the attack. On the day following the attacks, 11 people were rescued from the wreckage, including six firefighters and three police officers. Two Port Authority police officers were also rescued after spending nearly 24 hours beneath 30 feet of rubble.

4. The total number of 9/11 victim deaths rose to 2,752 in January 2009, when the New York City medical examiner’s office ruled that Leon Heyward, who died the previous year of lymphoma and lung disease, was a homicide victim because he was caught in the toxic dust cloud just after the towers collapsed.

5. In 2010, Congress created the WTC Health Program to provide medical monitoring and treatment for emergency responders, recovery, and cleanup workers, and volunteers who helped after the terrorist attacks. As of 2015, the number of Ground Zero responders and others afflicted with 9/11-linked cancers has hit 3,700. Those suffering cancers certified by the WTC Health Program include 1,100 members of the New York fire department, 2,134 police and first responders, and 467 survivors such as downtown workers and residents. Many have more than one type of cancer.

6. Most of the steel from the World Trade Center wreckage was sent to New Jersey salvage yards where it was broken down and sent all over the world for reuse. Nearly 350,000 tons of the steel was sent to be reused in small and large scale tributes, including 7.5 tons for use in the navy battleship USS New York.

7. For the first time in history, all nonemergency civilian aircraft in the United States were grounded for three days. The lack of condensation trails (contrails) from jet aircraft caused the average temperature across the U.S. to rise by an average of 1.8 degrees celsius.

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The Media Hits Rock Bottom

Eric Metaxas

Two Sundays ago, an ISIS-inspired terrorist killed forty-nine people at a gay night club in Orlando. Yet just three days after the attack, the New York Times editorial board laid the blame for Omar Mateen’s self-professed act of Islamic terrorism squarely at the feet of…believers in traditional marriage. I’m not kidding.

For those confused about how Christians and social conservatives are responsible for a radical jihadist’s actions, the Times helpfully explains: Our “corrosive politics,” they write, paved the way for this monstrosity. And by “corrosive politics,” they make it clear they mean defense of the natural family and created differences between the sexes. The Daily Beast followed up, accusing conservatives who are mourning the tragedy of “exploiting the LGBT community.” Evidently if your politics don’t line up with the goals of the sexual left, you’re not allowed to shed tears for the victims of terrorism.

But by far the most disturbing response, at least to me, came from CNN’s Anderson Cooper, who decided to publicly shame Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi during a live interview. While Bondi tried to explain what Florida is doing to help the victims and their families, Cooper raked her over the coals about her opposition to same-sex “marriage.”

In fact, he all but called her a hypocrite for defending the Florida constitution which—at the time—defined marriage as the union of man and woman. An attorney general’s job, of course, is to uphold and defend her state’s constitution. But Anderson Cooper did not seem to care.

As Mollie Hemingway remarked at The Federalist, apparently Cooper and CNN cannot fathom how anyone could oppose gay “marriage” and also grieve the murder of fifty fellow human beings. The implication by the media is clear: If you haven’t been on board with the LGBT political program, you’re partially responsible for what happened in Orlando.

daily_commentary_06_23_16Let me just tell you my first reaction to this: I was angry—very angry. I wanted to get on the air and scream from the rooftops how absurd, immoral, and unfair this kind of equivalence is. A self-proclaimed ISIS devotee committed the worst mass murder in this country since 9/11, and the media can think of no one to blame but conservatives and Christians!

Now that I’ve had some time to compose myself, I think it’s important we don’t respond with anger. In fact, my BreakPoint colleagues and I debated whether we even should dignify this foolishness with a response. And we decided to do so for a couple of reasons.

First, although we can expect to see more abuse of Christians in the news, we cannot let this become the new normal. Not in America. And we should respond by defying the caricatures—just like the Orlando Chick-fil-A managers did when they opened their stores on a Sunday to feed blood donors. And then there’s Lutheran Church Charities, which sent comfort dogs to help mourners in Orlando.

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