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September’s Burden Not Forgotten

When we weren’t looking, September crept in on a cool, foggy morning. The month of September kicked August to the curb and is here to remind us of things past and things to come.

This month used to signal an unofficial start to fall. The kids go back to school. The swimming pools are emptying out. The swings at the playground are swaying if only by an errant breeze. Leaves are beginning to swirl in a downward spin as the wind picks up. The trees will soon take on colors to paint the landscape in a wondrous beauty.

Yet as much as I love fall, I stand looking out the kitchen window and the memories begin to flood back. It’s hard not to think about what September has meant to the United States after that horrible day of Sept. 11, 2001. It was akin to the historic day Pearl Harbor was bombed on Dec. 7, 1941.

Twenty years after self-proclaimed hate martyrs reigned terror on our country, there are still stories being unearthed. There are countless stories about how Americans responded and reacted to thousands of their own being killed.

As hard as it is, I continue to read, watch and listen to these stories. There is comfort in knowing how we banded together to get through the immeasurable grief that followed.

Americans rushed to donate blood for the survivors that never came. Firefighters from across the country raced to help their “brothers” at the site of the destroyed Twin Towers in New York City. The same was true of law enforcement officers who vowed to bring justice for the lives lost. Our military scrambled to bolster our faith that we would be safe again.

Strangers at each of the three sites of the attack leaned on one another to get to safety. The boundaries of race, creed and color disappeared that day as Americans did whatever it took to hold each other upright when so many had fallen.

American flags were hoisted everywhere. Signs of encouragement and thanks to the first responders began appearing. Church pews grew crowded as faith leaders struggled to offer hope against the fear that spread over the land.

All this weekend, there will be reminders. Special programs on TV, stories recounted in newsprint, memorial services, ringing of bells and countless speeches will bring it all back. Anyone old enough to remember that day will find it difficult to put it behind us — and we shouldn’t.

September, you may have snuck up on us, but we will never forget the burden you carry.

Heather Ziegler can be reached via email at hziegler@theintelligencer.net.

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