Remembering 9/11: Our nation was forever changed
Twenty years ago, September 11 was just another Fall day — people headed to work and school, unprepared for the heartbreak that is forever etched in our memories. It is difficult, even now, to process the ways in which our collective history shifted, irrevocably, that day.
We remember the thousands of individual lives that ended tragically, discarded by the violent hands of terrorism.
Children grew up without parents. Spouses were left widowed. Friendships dissolved into memories. For first responders, the absences of their 412 colleagues were felt across the nation.
We also remember the 37,234 fallen Americans, and allies, who went to war in Iraq and Afghanistan and fought bravely, giving their lives in service to our country.
We honor the veterans that fought time and again, many of them returning more mentally and physically fragile than when they left.
We pay tribute to the families that waited patiently, supporting their servicemembers and creating communities to cope as best they could.
We will never forget those who lost their lives during the tragedies on September 11, 2001, those who fought until their last heartbeat in the long war that followed, and those who remained steadfast through their last breath during the chaos of the recent withdrawal from Afghanistan. The grief suffered by so many may never be adequately expressed in words.
And now, as we begin to emerge from a twenty-year war that began on that devastating September day, we must resolve to look forward with renewed fortitude and dedication to our democracy. We will continue to seek answers from our elected leaders as to what happened at the end of this war. We will continue to open our arms to displaced Afghan refugees, soldiers, and allies.
Most of all, we will continue to serve our country, in whatever way we can, doing so now as healers and custodians, in support and defense of our democracy.