Twenty years ago, many of us woke up to network TV news feeds from New York showing the World Trade Center skyscraper, severely damaged and on fire.

For many, the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in Washington, New York and Pennsylvania skies seem like a long time ago. For many more, it’s hard to believe it’s been two decades. And none of us need change the story as to where we were on that day.

We all remember the endless replaying of the airliners crashing into the towers of the World Trade Center, the aftermath of the jet that demolished one side of the Pentagon and that tore up a swath of field in Pennsylvania where a third hijacked plane, bound for the White House, was brought down by the courageous actions of its passengers.

The ruins of the twin towers have become a national shrine, both to the thousands of innocents killed and the hundreds of safety workers who died trying to save them.

It was a horrific attack that still shapes our world today.

Twenty years later, we are still trying to make sense of the terror that took place, its ramifications, from the U.S. becoming entrenched in a 20-year war in Afghanistan to security-minded policies that changed long held routines.

Indeed, we still live and work in the long shadow of the acts of terror of Sept. 11, 2001. 

On this solemn anniversary, it is important to reflect on what happened that fateful morning and how our country responded.

We should remember those who on an ordinary day followed an ordinary path that, unknown to them or their loved ones would lead them to an eternal destiny.

It is a day to remember the courageous sacrifices of those first-responders — police officers and firefighters — who rushed to the scene to save lives, succeeding but ultimately losing their own. 

Twenty years later, their sacrifice and loss and those of far too many others, should not be forgotten. 

Nor should the lives of nearly 5,000 of U.S. military and about 2,000 other Americans lost — as well as thousands more who came home injured — the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq that were triggered by those terrorist attacks

As we go about our day this Sept. 11, remember to support our military and first responders and remember all those who lost their lives Sept. 11, 2001 and in the 20 years since.                                                  — David Bloom

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