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Honoring the memories of those dying on 9/11

Today marks the 19th anniversary of one of the most horrific days in the history of the United States. Yes, it has been that long ago already.

Since 19 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, say, four years ago or will next year at the 20th anniversary. But let’s not wait until the next nice round number 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. Many of us do. Good for you. Shame on those who could care less about any significance attached to the date “September 11.”

The most elderly among us certainly remember where they were when learning about the Pearl Harbor bombings nearly 80 years ago. Many of us of a certain age vividly remember that terrible November afternoon in Dallas nearly 57 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. Think of the families left to intolerably suffer. Think of the mothers and fathers who lost children. Think of the husbands and wives who lost spouses. Think of the children who lost fathers and mothers. Included among those perishing in New York City was 36-year-old Cathy Salter, who hailed from Wellsville.

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. Granted, enhanced security and alertness has prevented any similar attacks on our mainland. But you know right now there are terrorists cells trying to figure out how to strike our nation on its own soil.

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 19th and not some nice round number anniversary of the tragedy. Do not ignore or “forget” what happened 19 years ago. That would not be right — it would be an outright insult to the still-suffering families. We should all pause and reflect today. And, perhaps, say a prayer for those who died. And another prayer that a like tragedy never happens again in our country.

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