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Our View: Consider attending a 9/11 ceremony, never forget that day or any aspect of the aftermath

Exactly one year ago this morning, the chaplain for Carroll County Volunteer Emergency Services Association, closed his pre-invocation remarks at a 9/11 ceremony held at the Carroll County Public Safety Training Center in Westminster with two words. “Never Forget.” Commissioner Stephen Wantz, R-District 1, a Baltimore County firefighter in a Pikesville station on Sept. 11, 2001 and Commissioner Ed Rothstein, R-District 5, stationed in Germany with the military at the time, both used those two words earlier this week when asked about 9/11.

We should all take heed, those old enough being sure to do exactly as they suggest as well as passing along the lessons from that day considering that roughly one-third of our nation’s population was either not yet born or too young when it happened to remember the events of 9/11.

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We should never forget the lives of the nearly 3,000 lost that day at the Twin Towers, at the Pentagon and in a Pennsylvania field, what they accomplished, what they should’ve gone on to accomplish and the families they left behind. We should never forget the heroism displayed by first responders, a few hundred of whom were killed when the towers collapsed, in rescuing those who survived and in searching diligently and desperately for more survivors, long after anyone might reasonably still have been alive. We should never forget the first responders who did not die that day but have been (or will be) living with — and in too many cases dying from — debilitating ailments such as multiple myeloma and mesothelioma, undoubtedly linked to what they went through in trying to save lives on 9/11.

We should never forget the way we felt in the hours, days, weeks and months after the attacks. Violated, wounded, certainly, but resolved. And in large part, unified. There is a popular internet meme that recirculates at this time each year on Facebook, Twitter and the rest of the social media landscape that reads: “I miss 9/12. I would never ever want another 9/11, but I miss the America of 9/12. Stores ran out of flags to sell because they were being flown everywhere. People were Americans before they were upper/lower class, Jewish/Christian, Republican/Democrat. We hugged people without caring if they ate at Chick-Fil-A or wore Nikes. On 9/12, what mattered more was what united us, than what divided us.”

It’s a wonderful sentiment that unquestionably sounds like a better alternative to the America of 2019, but, of course, it isn’t an entirely accurate look back given the violence and prejudice directed toward certain groups of Americans, particularly Muslims, that followed 9/11. Nor does it take into consideration the spying, wire-tapping and general distrust born that day, the wars that followed, nor the ways in which our lives changed. Never forget any part of it.

Today, in Carroll, there are two major 9/11 remembrances. The 9/11 Memorial Day of Service and Remembrance will again be held at the Carroll County Public Safety Training Center, at 8:30 a.m. It is expected to include a presentation of the colors, a prayer, a moment of silence, speakers, and a performance of “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipes. The center is, of course, home to a permanent memorial, dedicated in 2017, displaying a steel I-beam from the Twin Towers. Pine Grove Chapel and Cemetery, in Mount Airy, will host a 9/11 ceremony from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., that is expected to pay tribute to Mount Airy residents CW4 William Ruth, of the Army Reserve, and Lt. Comm. Ronald Vauk, of the U.S. Naval Reserve, both of whom were killed in the attack on the Pentagon. Lance Cpl. Robert W. Deane Detachment No. 770 Marine Corps League will lay wreaths for Vauk and Ruth, Mayor Patrick Rockinberg will speak, Scouts will carry the flag, and the Marine Corps will perform a volley.

Either ceremony — or both — would be well worth attending. It’s a time for reflection and poignant words, none more so than “Never Forget.”

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