How do you remember September 11, 2011, and what are you thinking this 9/11?
Here is what President Obama, U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) and a Patch editor have had to say today.
This anniversary allows us to renew our faith that even the darkest night gives way to a brighter dawn. Today, we can come here to the Pentagon, and touch these names and kneel beside a building where a single stone still bears the scars of that fire. We can visit the field of honor in Pennsylvania and remember the heroes who made it sacred. We can see water cascading into the footprints of the Twin Towers, and gaze up at a new tower rising above the New York skyline.
And even though we may never be able to fully lift the burden carried by those left behind, we know that somewhere, a son is growing up with his father’s eyes, and a daughter has her mother’s laugh—living reminders that those who died are with us still.
So as painful as this day is and always will be, it leaves us with a lesson that no single event can ever destroy who we are. No act of terrorism can ever change what we stand for. Instead, we recommit ourselves to the values that we believe in, holding firmly, without wavering, to the hope that we confess.
That’s the commitment that we reaffirm today. And that’s why, when the history books are written, the true legacy of 9/11 will not be one of fear or hate or division. It will be a safer world; a stronger nation; and a people more united than ever before.
Rep. Ellison's official statement on September 11:
Today we honor the memory of the thousands of lives lost on September 11, 2001, and commemorate the heroism displayed on that day. On September 11, we were not Democrats or Republicans, black or white, gay or straight; we were Americans. Despite the political backdrop of the moment, on 9/11 let us remember we are all Americans and treasure the freedoms we hold dear.
People who would have called themselves ‘average Americans’ showed themselves to be anything but average when they faced unspeakable terror. One such American was Tom Burnett. Tom grew up in Bloomington, Minnesota, and led his high school’s football team as its starting quarterback. He attended the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota after transferring from Saint John’s University in Northern Minnesota. Tom would later become the Chief Technology Officer of a medical device company that helps patients who have suffered from heart failure.
But on September 11, Tom was one of the passengers who foiled the hijacking of United Airlines Flight 93. Showing true courage, he set aside concerns about his own life to prevent a planned attack on the United States Capitol. His last words to his wife were reportedly, ‘We're all going to die, but three of us are going to do something.’
We honor Tom Burnett’s selflessness and acknowledge his gift to our nation and his family’s loss. We also should honor his sacrifice, and the lives of the thousands we lost, by taking time each day to cherish our friends, family, and nation and remembering the common bonds that tie us together.
For Mike Schoemer, now a Patch regional editor, Sept. 11, 2001 was his first deadline day as editor of the West Fargo Pioneer. , ending with things that particularly struck him in the aftermath:
In the coming days, the nation came together in a way that I had never seen before. Every concert, every benefit, from New York to Fargo, was packed to the rafters. Blood banks had lines out the door. The local American Red Cross was overwhelmed.
Churches were full. We hugged our kids a little longer. There was a feeling of resolve, and of unity. ...
Each year, I wonder if we can get that feeling back. And we do, for a few hours. And then we go about our way squabbling over political differences and checking in on the latest Hollywood gossip.
We forget the plumes of smoke, the rubble, and the Jumping Man.
Perhaps, for those people in New York, D.C. and that small field in Pennsylvania, we should try a little harder. We should dig a little deeper. And we should remember a little longer. Not of those harrowing hours, but of those triumphant days and weeks that have allowed us to rebuild the World Trade Center, and move forward as a nation.