Our Opinion: Patriot Day is a time to remember and serve

News Tribune editorial

Today, Sept. 11, we are asked to remember and to act.

The observance of Patriot Day reminds us of horrendous tragedy and tremendous valor.

On this date in 2001, terrorists hijacked commercial jets and crashed them into American icons of trade and defense — the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. Civilians, first responders and military personnel were among the thousands of innocent victims.

The immediate response of firefighters and others who confronted chaos in an attempt to save lives was followed by an outpouring of compassion and unity. People lined up to donate blood, to comfort victims’ families and begin the process of rebuilding.

On Patriot Day, an anniversary remembrance will be at 5:30 p.m. in the courtyard at the Cole County Historical Society, 109 Madison St. The featured speaker will be Lt. Col. (ret.) Rod Burnett, who was stationed at the Pentagon, but was not inside the building during the attack.

“So many people don’t understand,” said Society President Lorraine Adkins. “We want to bring back the feeling, personally acknowledging what happened to our country and never forget it.”

In addition to being a national day of remembrance, as proclaimed by President Obama, Patriot Day also is a national day of service.

“Today, as we remember the victims, their families, and the heroes who stood up during one of our country’s darkest moments,” Obama proclaimed, “I invite all Americans to reclaim that abiding spirit of compassion by serving their communities in the days and weeks ahead.

“From volunteering with a faithbased organization, to collecting food and clothing for those in need, to preparing care packages for our men and women in uniform, there are many ways to bring service into our everyday lives — and each of us can do something.”

Let us take time to remember, but also make time to serve — today and in the future.

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