This coming Tuesday marks the 11-year anniversary of what many consider to be the worst day in American history, Sept. 11, 2001, the day terrorists attacked us on our own soil. Though last year’s anniversary was more celebrated, being the 10-year mark — and coming on the heels of America finally finding and killing terror leader Osama bin Laden — the importance of this day has not diminished.
The passage of time might have an effect on how we remember some of the details, but for a day as wrought with emotion as 9/11, its impact touched a nerve and will forever remain in our minds. Still, each year it is important to observe Sept. 11 (now officially recognized as Patriot Day) to reflect not only on the tragic events but the positive aspects as well — the courage shown by first responders in New York City, the compassion shown by everyone who in some way lent their support, and the camaraderie shown by people from all walks of life coming together throughout the nation.
However, now that bin Laden is dead, much of Al-Qaeda has been killed or captured, and the Iraq War is behind us, we sometimes need a reminder that there are still many American troops fighting overseas in Afghanistan. With the presidential election taking up most of the national news headlines, Americans aren’t hearing much about our international affairs. The War in Afghanistan began Oct. 7, 2001, less than a month after the terrorist attacks, and United States Armed Forces have been there ever since, with a final withdrawal scheduled for 2014. While it’s easy for Americans at home to see the timetable as entering the “home stretch,” for the men and women currently in Afghanistan — and for their family members waiting back home — time moves a lot more slowly.
As we remember everything we lost on 9/11, it’s also important to recall everything we gained. Political divisions were still exacerbated following the 2000 presidential election, yet once America realized it was under attack, we came together as a united people to work through the tragedy and show the world exactly how strong we are. That spirit of national unity is something we need now more than ever, especially in an election year, when divisions are at an all-time high. Though we’ll never agree on everything, we can still co-exist and work together.
Join Wellington as it observes 9/11 with a memorial ceremony Tuesday, Sept. 11 before the Wellington Village Council meeting. The ceremony will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the Wellington Patriot Memorial and will include speeches by local dignitaries, a wreath-laying ceremony and moments of silence. For more info., call (561) 791-4000 or visit www.wellingtonfl.gov.