This September 11, marks the 20-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and United Flight 93 that crashed in western Pennsylvania.
Recalling the devastation wrought on that day is filled with pain for many. Yet we must remember the past, or we deprive ourselves of its lessons for overcoming our present struggles and divisions.
Here are 15 ways that all of us can take action and find common ground by memorializing the events of September 11, 2001:
- FLY your flag at half-mast for the 2,996 innocent human beings and 11 unborn babies who lost their lives, as well as the service members who died or were wounded in Operation Enduring Freedom.
- TAP into the love of country that flows through your veins. Give blood to the Red Cross to show solidarity with the more than 6,000 injured on that day.
- ATTEND and participate in community events to observe the six moments of silence for each key event of the attacks.
- SHARE your memories of the attacks with loved ones and friends.
- POST an appropriate picture or remembrance on social media or your company’s website to show your solidarity with the many innocent victims.
- PARTICIPATE in a local 9/11 Stair Climb to show gratitude and understanding for the grueling conditions our first responders perform under in the line of duty.
- VISIT a local 9/11 memorial in your area, or one of the year-round memorials in Manhattan, the Pentagon, and Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
- VOLUNTEER through one of the many non-profit organizations dedicated to preserving September 11th as a National Day of Service and Remembrance.
- DONATE to a charity that supports the families of 9/11 victims, museums, and other beneficial programs.
- TALK with your children about what happened. There is a wealth of information available. Try these resources if you’re struggling to start the conversation or answer their questions.
- REMEMBER the brave first responders, military and civilians who selflessly gave their lives to save others. For example, Father Mychal Judge served as a chaplain to the New York City Fire Department. He rushed to the World Trade Center after the first plane struck, and was killed by debris when the South Tower collapsed.
- THANK a member of the Coast Guard. The greatest boat lift in American history occurred on 9/11, and it is a story of heroism worth revisiting.
- PONDER this question before each of us: Are we living our freedoms individually and collectively as we ought to be?
- RESOLVE to be a better citizen and contributing member to the common good of our country. Each of us has his or her own part to play, and a duty to perform to preserve our national unity.
- REFLECT on the following remarks of President Abraham Lincoln, from a speech given on September 11, 1858: “What constitutes the bulwark of our own liberty and independence? It is not our frowning battlements, our bristling sea coasts, the guns of our war steamers, or the strength of our gallant and disciplined army . . . Our reliance is in the love of liberty which God has planted in our bosoms. Our defense is in the preservation of the spirit which prizes liberty as the heritage of all men, in all lands, everywhere. Destroy this spirit, and you have planted the seeds of despotism around your own doors.”