Looking back with sadness, ahead with hope

Americans will reflect Saturday on one of the most horrific days in our nation’s history. Two decades ago, on Sept. 11, 2001, terrorists hijacked four commercial aircraft, flying two into New York City’s World Trade Center and another into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. The fourth crashed in a Somerset County, Penn., field when heroic passengers took matters into their own hands.

A lot of heroes were made that day. Nearly 3,000 precious lives were lost, including two Hinsdaleans.

In a statement upon ordering the declassification review of documents related to the 9/11 attacks last week, President Joe Biden underscored the importance of remembering this day, as painful as it is.

“We must never forget the enduring pain of the families and loved ones of the 2,977 innocent people who were killed during the worst terrorist attack on America in our history. For them, it was not only a national and international tragedy. It was a personal devastation,” Biden states. “For 20 years, children have grown up without parents and parents have suffered without children. Husbands and wives have had to find a way forward without their partners in life. Brothers and sisters, uncles and aunts, loved ones and friends have celebrated 20 years of birthdays, family gatherings and milestones looking at an empty chair at homes and with a hole in their hearts.”

To help us remember, today’s issue features a Page 7 story on Hinsdale resident and ex-Marine James Haunty, a fresh graduate from Marine Corps Base Quantico 20 years ago who would find his role in the defense of freedom. And in Pulse, read about all the opportunities available nearby to make this anniversary especially memorable.

Many continue to feel the direct effects of 9/11, and several charities have been established to help them.

Tuesday’s Children provides a lifetime of healing for those whose lives have been forever changed by terrorism or traumatic loss and continues to support all those impacted by 9/11. Donate at https://www.tuesdayschildren.org/ support/.

The Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund has provides financial support to dependents of people killed or permanently disabled as a result of the attacks or during rescue activities. Donate at https://www.familiesoffreedom.org/ donate-to-the-families-of-freedom-scholarship-fund.

9/11 Day annually organizes the September 11 National Day of Service and Remembrance as a permanent tribute to those killed and injured on 9/11 and to the many brave individuals who rose in service in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks and to rekindle the extraordinary spirit of togetherness and compassion that arose in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 tragedy through hunger relief volunteer service projects and other outreach efforts throughout the United States. Donate at https:// http://www.911day.org.

Voices Center for Resilience (VOICES) grew out of the events of 9/11 to become an agency that assists communities in preparing for and recovering from traumatic events and providing long-term support and resources that promote mental health care and wellness for victims’ families, responders and survivors. Donate at https://voicescenter.org/support.

However you and your family choose to remember, take time to recognize the light of hope and resolve that has emerged from our country’s dark moment.