OPINION -- SEN. Tom O'Mara: 'Honoring the memory of the 11th day'
The years keep passing, 20 now, and Americans of all ages will never forget.
Two decades later, we can never forget.
Throughout this 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks that forever altered our nation and the world, we will, in the words of former President George W. Bush, pause to “honor the memory of the 11th day.”
There are solemn observances at the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial in Washington, at the Flight 93 National Memorial near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, and, of course, at the 9/11 Memorial & Museum in New York City.
To find out and view more, you can visit the 9/11 Memorial & Museum website (911memorial.org), where this fitting summation can also be found, “Despite our shared grief in the aftermath of 9/11, hope, resilience, and unity lifted us up as a nation. Twenty years later, these lessons are more important than ever. Today, the 9/11 Memorial & Museum stands as a beacon of healing and renewal – a physical embodiment of the compassion we showed to one another, the resolve we demonstrated to the world, and how, in the face of unfathomable loss, we rose as one. During this 20th anniversary year, we will share the history and lessons learned with a new generation, teach them about the ongoing repercussions of the 9/11 attacks, and inspire the world with memories of our fortitude, strength, and resilience.”
From east to west, from north to south, Americans undertake their responsibility and duty as citizens to remember September 11, 2001 at the memorials that dot this great land of ours -- like we have since that day, and like we always must.
For this generation, to this very moment, September 11 evokes such a difficult mix and range of emotions, yet one of the most powerful reminders of all is this one: we are Americans and above all else, in the toughest of times, we will ultimately stand together in aid, in comfort, and in determination.
So we honor the memory of 9/11's victims and continue to keep their families in our prayers.
We pay tribute, again, to the heroic bravery, courage, and selflessness of the rescue and recovery workers – the firefighters and police officers, every first responder and every citizen who gave their lives, and those who spent week after week after week at Ground Zero in homage to the ultimate sacrifice of their fellow men and women.
We reaffirm our pride in this nation’s servicemen and servicewomen, and we keep all of them and their families in our thoughts and prayers – including those young men and women whom we’ve lost from here at home, and their families, friends, and loved ones. As events continue to unfold across the world, our veterans and their families must know that as a nation, we value, we respect, and we honor their remarkable service and sacrifice.
Every day they remind us that America’s fundamental values cannot be overcome, and we thank them.
We know that too many of America’s veterans are struggling today, in crisis, and, tragically, too many of these heroes are taking their own lives. We need every veteran to know and to believe that they are never alone. The nation’s Veterans Crisis Line is available around the clock to connect with caring and qualified responders with the Department of Veterans Affairs, many of whom are veterans themselves. The Veterans Crisis Line can be reached by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
On this 20th anniversary, I also join in recalling how so many emergency services volunteers, not-for-profit organizations, school classrooms, business leaders, and individual citizens and communities from across the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions responded in such strong, uplifting ways in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.
I’m grateful each and every year on this anniversary for the opportunity to remember how so many citizens, young and old, from all walks of life and all stations, responded with a powerful, enduring determination to help America recover and rebuild – and how, to this very day, this memory can serve to remind us that even in the darkest of days, Americans face a future of hope, that the fundamental American values of decency, fortitude, generosity, and strength will help us carry on and keep this region, this state, and our nation strong.
New York State Senator Tom O'Mara represents the 58th District, which includes Yates, Steuben, Schuyler and Chemung counties and a portion of Tompkins County.