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Today is a day we remember

Today, we remember.

We remember a picture-perfect Tuesday in late summer.

We remember dropping children off at their schools.

We remember going into school or work.

We remember the first reports of an airplane striking a building at the World Trade Center in New York and thinking that a terrible accident had taken place.

We remember the horror that became evident when we learned that another airplane had crashed into a second building at the World Trade Center, another had slammed into the Pentagon and yet another had been taken down in a quiet field just east of Pittsburgh shortly after flying right over our heads, the result of heroic men and women who refused to back down or cower to the lunatic hijackers.

Saturday marks the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the United States, and the tragic consequences that arose from the work of 19 madmen who were successful in turning airliners loaded with innocent passengers into guided missiles.

Much has changed since 8:46 a.m. on that Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001. We now must conduct our lives under the watch of the Patriot Act. We no longer board an airplane until we have undergone a screening process conducted by the Transportation Security Administration, which is run by the Department of Homeland Security.

During those 20 years, we have have fought wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in an effort to fend off future terror attacks. Our politics have become polarized, to the point that in some families brothers no longer speak to brothers, fathers no longer speak to daughters and mothers no longer speak to sons because of their differences.

But we’ve also seen the good. We developed and maintained a greater respect for our police officers and firefighters. We cheer members of our armed forces and pray daily that they remain safe while doing their duty domestically and thousands of miles away. We have watched the unbridled can-do spirit of our country at work as we’ve rallied to the aid of our fellow Americans who have been affected by natural disasters. We’ve faced down a pandemic and are working to make sure all Americans benefit from the recovery.

We were relieved to learn that Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of those attacks on American soil, was brought to justice, killed by a team of elite SEALS, our nation’s best warriors.

Today, we remember those who died on Sept. 11, whether they were the civilians who were merely going about their daily lives in the World Trade Center, the employees in the Pentagon, the flight crews and passengers on the four airliners that were commandeered in the attacks and the first responders who gave their lives while trying to save others. We also remember the servicemen and women whose lives have been lost in the war on terror.

Americans have and will gather in all parts of our great country during the next few days, in Steubenville and Weirton, at Ground Zero in New York City, in Shanksville, in Washington, D.C. While we surely must mourn, we also must resolve, again, to create a stronger nation by working together — as Americans.

The words we wrote in an editorial shortly after Sept. 11, 2001, ring as true today as they did then: “We cannot and should not, ever again, as a people, as a nation, be anything but the strongest nation in the world. We must conduct ourselves as such and never be fooled again into thinking our way of life can be preserved by giving up or giving in.”

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