We continue the search for hope

Nineteen committed people can change the world.

That is the frightening reality that we learned 18 years ago today, after Americans and the world watched as civilian airliners were used as piloted cruise missiles to rain terror in New York and Washington, D.C., and on the people who fought back aboard an airliner that crashed into a peaceful farm field east of Pittsburgh.

Sept. 11, 2001, is receding in time, but not in effect.

The world has accepted wars, seemingly without end. The world has accepted that madmen bent on using violence as a political statement will be with us. The “war on terror” is not a war that is winnable in the sense of holding a victory celebration, or a definitive event such as a Victory over Terror Day. There is no VT Day to join the VJ and VE days in World War II, nor can there be, for ending terror means ending evil ways in the minds of people who simply cannot tolerate others or opposing viewpoints.

Today, there will be flag ceremonies and memorials, speeches and remembrances.

But hatred still looms among peoples. Extremists on all sides of religious and political fences continue to push their doctrines. Well-meaning people who do not think beyond their own wants create controversies and move to the extremes to join those already there.

Sept. 11, 2001, was 18 years ago.

But its lasting effect goes onward as generations of human beings who were alive that day cannot go beyond its memory, or the memory of the world as it was before that morning.

So much time has passed Sept. 11, 2001, that children who were born right around in high school, unaware of the day except through what others have told them or what they’ve read. If they haven’t yet, they will soon be able to vote, and they will be making an impact on what our future will look like.

It will be up to them to begin living lives not tainted by living through that day, and to change the way the world lives.

We remember, mourn, honor and reflect on this annual day of grim reminders that have burned into our minds. And, while we will never forget Sept. 11, 2001, we must continue to look for hope in the years that lie ahead.