Americans should pause and reflect each and every 9/11

Today marks the 12th anniversary of one of the most horrific days in the history of the United States.

Since 12 isn’t a nice round number like – say, five or 10 or 20 – used to widely commemorate anniversaries, you might not hear or read as much today about the 9/11 tragedies as you did two years ago. Then there were mass tributes and memoriams held. Rightfully so. But let’s not wait until the 15th anniversary of 9/11 to fully recognize its searing impact into our nation’s consciousness. We should annually do that, regardless of specific anniversary date.

The most elderly among us certainly remember where they were when learning about the Pearl Harbor bombings over 70 years ago. Many of us of a certain age vividly remember that terrible November afternoon in Dallas nearly 50 years ago. What happened on Sept. 11, 2001 in New York City, Washington D.C. and on a Pennsylvania countryside not all the far from here continues to resound and will forever echo among us.

Nearly 3,000 men, women and children died in New York City, Washington, D.C., and rural Pennsylvania. Among them were more than 400 firefighters, paramedics and police officers. Since 9/11 6,668 U.S. service members have died in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. Think of the families left to intolerably suffer. Think of the mothers and fathers who lost children. Think of the children who lost fathers and mothers.

Today, then, is a day to remind ourselves of the horror of 9/11 and the heavy price paid to keep us safe. The ongoing vigilance against the terrorist threat, the constant state of being on guard against evil must not waver. Post 9-11 America is a percolating environment. People want to hurt and kill Americans. It can happen anywhere as the Boston Marathon bombings proved – and yes, that was indeed a pure terrorist act.

Think about the debt we can never repay to all those who defend us, both at home and abroad. Sept. 11 each year needs to be a date that lives in infamy and on which we rededicate ourselves to overcoming a vicious, implacable foe. We appreciate the thoughtfulness of those community groups and organizations holding 9/11 tributes today – on the 12th and not some nice round number anniversary of the tragedy. We appreciate the Western Reserve High School Marching Band holding a 9/11 commemorative event today at 7 p.m. at the high school in Berlin Center. Local firefighters will be recognized and featured will be area bands. A nice gesture for sure. We hope others throughout our communities and schools are holding their own tributes too. We should all pause and reflect today. And, perhaps, say a prayer.