Across the country, Americans will take time this weekend to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks. For nearly all of us, the events of that tragic day still seem very recent and memories remain vivid.
The shocking attacks that took place in New York City, Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania changed the course of history as a staggering 3,000 Americans perished that day. For New Yorkers, this date carries a deeply personal significance as we faced tragedy right here at home, with so many innocent lives lost at the World Trade Center.
One thing that did not change though, and never will, is the courage and spirit of our citizens, the members of our armed forces and the countless first responders who risked their lives to keep us safe. While we all remember where we were on that tragic day, we also remember how the country overcame those heinous and cowardly attacks through resiliency and resolve that defines America.
This weekend there are any number of ways we can reflect on the events of September 11th – participate in a moment of silence, proudly fly the American flag, contribute to a charitable cause or stop into the local firehouse or police station and thank the members for their unwavering service to their communities.
Additionally, the 9/11 Memorial & Museum is a beautiful tribute to those we lost, dedicated to preserving the solemn ground as a piece of our history. For those in my district, there are a number of events planned in Onondaga, Fulton and Oswego counties. The City of Oswego is hosting events to remember those who died, as well as honor active service first responders, including a sunrise run, remembrance ceremony, procession and outdoor mass.
Although two decades have passed, many are still grappling with the impacts of that day – the families still mourn lost loved ones, first responders deal with traumatic memories and health impacts, so many have sacrificed greatly during the long conflict that followed the attacks.
However, as we move forward and so many continue to heal, we do so collectively as one state and one nation. In the immediate aftermath of the attacks, Americans stood united and were determined to recover and rise again. We achieved that. During this weekend of somber reflection, let’s keep those who have endured so much in our hearts and minds and let’s aspire to once again achieve a collective unity of which those who we lost would be proud.