Opinion | Three ways to remember September 11, 2001

For me, Sept. 11, 2001, began with a phone call. Get up, my editor urged, and get over here, because something terribly significant had just happened.

Everyone I knew, every stranger I met was glued to their televisions, watching images of planes crash into New York’s iconic Twin Towers and the Pentagon. As the morning lengthened, disbelief turned to a stunned numbness. Surely it couldn’t get any worse. Then the towers fell. Nearly 3,000 people died in the attacks, and more would have perished, too, if those on board United Airlines Flight 93 hadn’t resisted the hijackers, causing the plane to crash into a Pennsylvania pasture.

I don’t doubt that every American remembers what they were doing on the morning that changed America. Nine-eleven certainly changed things quickly, too. Less than a month later, the nation was at war in Afghanistan—and still is today. It’s sobering to take a moment and consider what those attacks have wrought, what the costs have been, what sacrifices and gains have been made, by this nation and other peoples across the globe.

My other memory is of how Americans a continent away were united—galvanized into unity—by the attacks. By sunset, so many flags were waving. I remember attending an American Legion vigil, watching old veterans and young families come together. No one was sure what the United States’ response would be. The emotion at the time was a rallying around true principles and patriotism. People of all ages gathered in the park just to talk, to get their feelings out in the open.

Now, on Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011, we have three opportunities to reflect on the day that transformed the world and to remember those at its epicenter—the emergency workers, soldiers, victims and their families, all real human beings whose destinies were forever changed.

Snoqualmie ceremony

The city of Snoqualmie and the American Legion Renton-Pickering Post will observe Patriot Day with a ceremony, 8:15 a.m. at Railroad Park, 7971 Railroad Ave. S.E. All citizens are invited to this remembrance, which will honor the victims and survivors of 9/11, as well as first responders, recovery workers, volunteers, soldiers and their families.

SVA gathering

Snoqualmie Valley Alliance Church will hold a public, community-wide gathering, 10 a.m. at Mount Si High School, 8651 Meadowbrook Way. SVA will remember and honor victims and survivors and educate young people about the events of Sept. 11, 2001. This is a family-appropriate event, and all are welcome. To learn more, e-mail to info@svaonline.org.

North Bend vigil

The city of North Bend, Si View Metro Parks and the local Lions Club remember survivors, victims, volunteers and responders in a candlelight vigil and ceremony, 7 p.m. at Si View Park, 400 S.E. Orchard Dr., for the National Day of Service and Remembrance.

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