The horror, hope of Sept. 11 continues to endure

Every year in this issue, we dedicate this space to remembering the events of Sept. 11, 2001, paying respects to those lost and the heroism of those who, in many cases, knew it would be their final act.

As the years pile up between then and now, the unspeakable series of deadly terrorist acts that upended our collective consciousness has become the province of annual commemorative events with limited participation. But as Americans, we cannot let our collective memory consign it to the pile of the past.

As President George W. Bush said at a remembrance event, “Time is passing. Yet, for the United States of America, there will be no forgetting September the 11th. We will remember every rescuer who died in honor. We will remember every family that lives in grief. We will remember the fire and ash, the last phone calls, the funerals of the children.”

Amidst the polarization and demonization that characterizes much of our political discourse today, the solidarity on display in the aftermath of that episode gives hope that we can find common purpose in our democracy of diverse voices.

“September 11 is one of our worst days but it brought out the best in us. It unified us as a country and showed our charitable instincts and reminded us of what we stood for and stand for,” remarked former U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander.

In these pages we regularly highlight local residents acting on those instincts, partnering with area nonprofit organizations to bring relief and resources to those in need. That inclination toward building up others, according to President Barack Obama, is a powerful way to counter those bent on destruction.

“Even the smallest act of service, the simplest act of kindness, is a way to honor those we lost, a way to reclaim that spirit of unity that followed 9/11,” Obama said.

In that effort, each year 9/11 Day 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, rekindling the togetherness and compassion that arose at that time through hunger relief volunteer service projects and other outreach efforts throughout the United States. Donate at

So this Sunday — Patriots’ Day, as the occasion is now known — put out your flag, say a prayer for our nation, and find a way to give back as a tribute to those who gave all.