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Editorial: Harford offers ways to show we haven’t forgotten 9/11 | COMMENTARY

It’s been 19 years since the 9/11 attacks that killed roughly 3,000 people, the deadliest single terrorist attack in history, and left countless others injured or suffering from long-term health problems, including a number of first responders.

There will be several events in Harford County marking the somber anniversary of the attacks.

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Harford County citizens are invited to gather for a moment of silence at 8:46 a.m. — the time the first plane struck the World Trade Center in New York — followed by a brief ceremony outside the county government administrative building at 220 S. Main St. in Bel Air. (Social distancing and masks are required.)

“The coronavirus pandemic continues to bring challenges to our families and communities, and on Friday we will recall another time when our country was hit by an unprecedented attack,” County Executive Barry Glassman said in a statement. “As we remember the innocent victims of that tragic day, let us also remember that our nation has weathered many storms. As always, the best way forward is together.”

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Later, the Bel Air office of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty is setting up a pop-up lunch and dinner counter at Shamrock Park in Bel Air, where it will be offering free lunch and dinner to first responders.

“With the challenges facing our first responders right now, we just wanted to extend this small gesture of gratitude for their continued hard work and dedication,” branch manager Jan Freund said. “I know many of them personally and I’ve been in awe of their tireless service to our communities.”

The event, “Serving Those Who Serve Us,” will offer lunch from noon to 2 p.m. and dinner from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

From 4 to 6 p.m. Friday afternoon, former state Del. Pat McDonough has organized a flag waving tribute on Route 152 overpass over I-95. Volunteer firefighters and community organizations will be on hand. Parking is available for attendees at the Park and Ride on Mountain Road.

“We must never forget this terrible day in our history,” McDonough said. “Sept. 11 is a day to remember courage, honor and patriotism.”

For those of those who lived through it, the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001, were a catalyst for a high point of American unity. Our disagreements didn’t matter. We were proud to be Americans and we sought to support one another.

As the years has passed by, those levels of pride have dipped significantly and there is a great division along a number of lines throughout the country. In fact, American pride has reached a low point in 2020, according to Gallup polling, which has asked adults how proud they are to be Americans since 2001.

About 63% of U.S. adults say they are still extremely or very proud to be American; the sixth consecutive year it has fallen to a new low in Gallup’s trend.

Certainly, our country is far from perfect, and the current pandemic has highlighted that at times. But as we reflect today on the lives lost in the attacks 19 years ago, let us also never forget a time when everyone was a bit more kind and respectful to each other, and were proud of our fellow Americans. It shouldn’t take deadly tragedy for us to feel that way about each other and our country.

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