Day of remembrance time to come together

By the Herald editorial staff

For this one day, let us stand together.

Democrats, Republicans, conservatives, liberals, young, old, rich and poor, native born and naturalized citizens -- every American of every stripe, every race and gender, every religion and creed -- let's stand as one.

If we can't last the entire day -- then at least let's spend a moment reflecting together on the values and heritage we hold in common.

If you're up early today, 5:46 a.m. would be an appropriate time to reflect on what it means to be an American.

Eight years ago at that time (8:46 a.m. on the East Coast), terrorists turned American Airlines Flight 11 out of Boston into a deadly missile, crashing it into the north tower of the World Trade Center in New York City.

Thus began one of the bleakest days in our nation's history.

In all, 2,975 people were killed when four hijacked jets crashed -- two into the World Trade Center's twin towers, one into the Pentagon and a fourth into a Pennsylvania pasture.

As Americans, this sorrowful anniversary is a time to remember the fallen -- the heroes and the innocents.

Some 343 firefighters and paramedics and 60 law enforcement officials were among the dead in New York. Among the victims are thousands of survivors -- widows and widowers, children who lost a mother or father.

Not every victim was an American. New York is an international city, and the dead included citizens of 115 nations.

But the attack was against America -- not only against our lives and property, but more pointedly against who we are as a people and the freedoms we stand for.

Remember the lives lost eight years ago.

Remember that the families and loved ones left behind carry a permanent burden of pain.

Honor them, but know that the melancholy act of honoring the victims of 9/11 is also an act of unity. With common ground in such short supply, any unity is worth clinging to for a moment this morning.

These days, when political discourse seems too often to lapse into rage, when dialogue is too often replaced with hyperbole and volume, anything that brings us together -- even grief -- has special value.

Sept. 11 is a national day of remembrance.

It serves us well on this date each year not only to remember what happened, but also to reflect on how we felt that day.

We were drawn together in deep feelings of heartbreak and patriotism that transcended partisan divides.

Issues divide us, and the deep chasms between ideologies sometimes seem insurmountable.

But our resolve as a nation has never really wavered in eight years. We will not be cowed.

We've argued over tactics and policies but never about our determination to stand up to terror.

On this day of remembrance, that's worth remembering.