Editorial: 17 years later, we haven't forgotten

Seventeen years. That’s how long it has been since that horrific Tuesday morning when Americans, glued to their television sets, watched in horror at the images of planes crashing into buildings and towers crumbling. To those who witnessed it, 9/11 will never be forgotten.

While we promised to “Never Forget,” many people will go through their daily activities today, just as they would any other Tuesday, not pausing to reflect on how our world changed 17 years ago. Certainly, it’s understandable. There is plenty else to keep us distracted and our minds occupied — work, family, school, politics, sports.


Many high school seniors were not even born when those four jetliners crashed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and in a field in Pennsylvania. To them, 9/11 is likely no different than any other lesson they may read about in a history book, like the fall of Rome, the Boston Tea Party or the Civil War.

As time continues to pass, to those who were not directly affected by the attacks, the memories will fade. What, unfortunately, has also passed, was a time when America last truly felt like a United States. It is a shame that it took a national tragedy for us all to come together as one and recognize our similarities and look past our differences. Amid today’s Us vs. Them rhetoric and toxic hate spewed on social media, it is hard to remember what that was like.

Alas, perhaps for a day – today – we can put that aside and stop to honor those whom we lost 17 years ago.

Carroll County has not forgotten, and the lives lost as a result of the horrific acts of Sept. 11, 2001, will be honored at separate ceremonies today in Westminster and Mount Airy, both of which will be open to the public.

At 9 a.m., at the Carroll County Public Safety Training Center, at 50 Kate Wagner Road in Westminster, a ceremony will be held in front of a monument that incorporates a piece of the World Trade Center. It will feature a moment of silence and reflection for those whose lives were lost, followed by short speeches by local officials, including Carroll County Emergency Management Coordinator Doug Brown.

In Mount Airy, at 6:30 p.m. at Pine Grove Chapel at 797 South Main Street, the ceremony will honor two members of the community – Lt. Comm. Ronald Vauk of the U.S. Naval Reserve and CW4 William Ruth of the Army Reserve – who were killed in the attacks on the Pentagon, with a wreath laying. It will also include the singing of the national anthem, a member of the Mount Airy Volunteer Fire Company playing the bagpipes, and a 21-gun salute by the L/Cpl. Robert W. Deane Detachment Marine Corps League.

The Mount Airy ceremony will feature a guest speaker, a firefighter who traveled to New York in the aftermath of the attacks, to speak about his experiences.

If you cannot attend one of these ceremonies, we encourage you to stop at 8:46 a.m. today — the same time the first of the two planes struck the World Trade Center — and reflect.

We will not forget.