Saturday, September 19, 2020

Lessons learned and lost from 9/11

| September 11, 2020 12:30 AM

You certainly remember exactly where you were and what you were doing 19 years ago this morning.

Your son or daughter who graduated from college this spring? At 22 years old, he or she likely remembers nothing of that day except from knowledge accumulated over the years.

We have a mission, a responsibility. Never forget. And instill in our children and our grandchildren the significance of what happened almost two decades ago.

Foremost among those lessons is this: Our guard was down, but the past 19 years have shown a strong response to the threat of terrorism. Still, according to some fine research by CNN this week (, there have been nine deadly terrorist attacks domestically since 2013.

It’s impossible to eliminate terrorism in a free country — perhaps in any country these days — but it’s our opinion the United States has struck a fair balance between protecting people’s rights and safety and yet aggressively seeking out those who would cause harm before they can succeed.

But getting back to our children and our grandchildren, one priceless lesson that seemingly has been washed away like the debris from the Twin Towers is the power of our nation when we all pull together. These 22-year-olds are far more familiar with a country bitterly divided than the one that emerged united in the wake of that gutless attack 19 years ago. That’s lamentable. And it does not take a cynical mind to wonder if it will change any time soon.

So here’s our hope: That without being blindsided and rocked to our foundation by terrorists accomplishing the unimaginable, this great nation insists upon leadership at every level that pulls us together rather than rips us apart. The responsibility extends to each and every one of us, of course — by exercising our right to vote, certainly, but by behaving daily in a manner that perhaps our Founding Fathers expected of us back in the genesis of our country: Treating each other with respect no matter how much we might disagree.

That quality, after all, is what separates us from those who shoot from rooftops or fly jets into densely inhabited buildings.