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Still Not Forgotten

Posted 9/10/20

Today commemorates the 19th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that shocked our nation and the world on September 11, 2001.

Most Americans of a certain age remember exactly where they were when …

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Still Not Forgotten

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Today commemorates the 19th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that shocked our nation and the world on September 11, 2001.

Most Americans of a certain age remember exactly where they were when they heard the news. Many of us can still recall the sense of shock and disbelief as we watched events unfold live on our television screens. The horrifying scenes of that day are forever ingrained in our collective memory.

Images of burning towers, a plane crash in Pennsylvania and smoke rising from the Pentagon have been compared to photos of burning battleships at Pearl Harbor. That is to say, it was a defining moment for a generation of Americans who went to sleep that night in a very different world from the one they woke up in that morning.

At least 2,977 people lost their lives that day and thousands more were seriously injured. Even 19 years later, there are still people getting sick and dying from 9/11-related illnesses. Firefighters and first responders who rushed into harm's way in order to save others would develop various forms of cancer years later from breathing in the toxic dust and pulverized concrete that saturated the air around Ground Zero.

It wasn't just Americans who died that day. Citizens from more than 90 different countries lost their lives. The grief we felt here at home was shared by our friends around the world.

The effects of that day continue to be felt in the lives that were changed forever. Yet there's a younger generation of Americans who have grown up in the shadow of 9/11 despite not being old enough to remember it personally. We must teach them the lessons of that time in order to demonstrate how relevant they still are.

Despite the enormity of the tragedy, there was a sense of national unity that prevailed in the aftermath of 9/11. Time and time again, throughout our country's history, we've shown that we can put aside petty partisan differences, endure awful sacrifice and still unite to overcome even the most difficult challenges.

It's not only acts of terrorism that threaten the peace and security of the world. Global pandemics, the increasing frequency of natural disasters and the impacts of climate change are a reality we must address. These challenges we face today are daunting and will require unity and sacrifice. It's days like this that we can remember what we truly stand for. We can remember how strong we are when we stand together.

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