Our wish was summed up in the headline of the News Tribune editorial that morning, two decades ago this weekend: “Remember 9/11,” the headline commanded.
“‘Remember September 11’ will be the rallying cry of this generation of Americans who defend freedom from terrorism,” the newspaper said on September 12, 2001. “Make no mistake about it, suicide bombers who hijacked airliners yesterday and targeted 50,000 Americans at the World Trade Center and 20,000 Americans at the Pentagon have targeted every man, woman and child in the United States. No American is immune from this kind of threat. … As we mourn the dead, comfort the families of the victims and rebuild damaged and destroyed buildings, we must show our determination and unity of purpose as a people.
There were plenty of reasons then – and they still are today – to never forget.
But we did, didn’t we? Never entirely, of course. But little by little, year after year, September 11 has moved away from us, has become smaller in our collective rearview mirror. It just got easier and easier to miss today’s date.
Despite the lives lost, the threats to our freedoms, the panic and despair we shared that morning, and the unity of determination that brought us together in the days that followed – and despite the horrible punch donated by terrorists in New York City, the Pentagon, and inside an airliner that crashed into a field in rural Pennsylvania – we seem to care a little less about each passing anniversary.
In some years in Duluth there has been no commemoration, vigil, or commemoration event. A few years ago, there was barely an echo in the local news. On the more recent September 11, when we remembered it, our prayer circles and other gatherings of community and unity were pale compared to those first birthdays, some so significant that they were to be held at Bayfront Festival Park.
However, this year promises to be different. On the occasion of today’s 20th anniversary, there are many occasions for commemoration. We are fortunate to deliver the enormity and impact of this horrific moment on our center, whether in private or through a public event.
In Duluth, police and firefighters, the mayor, Duluth fire and police honor guard and others are scheduled to participate in a remembrance ceremony at 11 a.m. at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center. There will be prayers, speeches, a bell ceremony, a gun salute and taps, and more. Masks are mandatory to attend. Anyone who can’t see it can watch it live on the city’s Facebook page and elsewhere.
“Not only is it really important to remember what happened on September 11, 2001, but it impacted so many people across the country and here in Duluth,” said Kate Van Daele, head of Duluth’s public information, in an interview this week with the News. Opinion page of the Tribune. “It continues to bring our community together to celebrate and remember the lives lost. “
Also today in Duluth, our firefighters invited colleagues from Superior, Cloquet and Iron Range departments to join them in completing a commemorative 9/11 stair climb at Amsoil Arena. Duluth firefighters also made the ascent last year, in tribute to the 343 New York firefighters who perished on September 11. They climb the equivalent of the 110 floors of the World Trade Center, picking up, at the end of each floor, a badge with the name and photo of one of the dead. “This is a very humble event where we honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice to protect others, and (we) think about their families,” said Duluth firefighter and event organizer Andrew Olsen. , in an exclusive statement on the News Tribune Opinion page before the end. the ascent of the year.
Elsewhere in Northland, Sparta and Ashland are among the towns that host commemorations.
At the Capitol in St. Paul, a multimedia “September 11 Remembrance Day” is scheduled, starting at 7:30 am with the reading of the names of the Minnesotans killed on September 11 and in the Global War on Terrorism. The bells will ring in Saint-Paul this morning to mark the moment each flight crashed in 2001.
However, we choose to do it today, we can still remember it in droves. We can still pay homage and honor. And we can remember the words of former New York Governor George Pataki: “The attacks of September 11, 2001 reshaped the face of the nation and the course of history,” he wrote for CNN at the occasion of the fifth anniversary. Our lives and the lives of those to come… forever changed… The date of September 11 will forever evoke memories of unimaginable tragedy, of lives cruelly lost and brutally cut short, and untold horror and sorrow in hearts and minds We must never forget the depths of inhumanity into which terrorist fanatics are prepared to sink in the name of their depraved cause as they seek to destroy the very principles of freedom and democracy upon which this great nation was founded. …
“Remembering this day is not a choice but our solemn obligation,” Pataki wrote. “Always remember that we have been attacked not for what we do wrong, but for what we do right.”
The News Tribune Opinion page has previously shared Pataki’s words on today’s dark anniversary. They provide all the more reason to remember, honor, commemorate – and never forget.