Our nation approaches the most significant 10th anniversary in memory.
Sunday is Sept. 11, 2011 - 10 years from the terrible day in New York, Washington, D.C., and rural Pennsylvania when terrorists hijacked four jetliners and forced them to crash, killing more than 3,000 people.
Nothing has since been the same in this country, nor in our world.
Certainly as the date approaches, our society is highly aware of marking the somber decade since 9/11.
Gorge citizens are planning several 9/11 memorial events, all worth attending. See page A1 for details. In addition, Hood River News will publish articles Saturday in which we catch up with some local residents whose responses and emotions we reported in 2001.
An organization founded shortly after 9/11, Gorge Heroes Club, in partnership with Anderson's Tribute Center, will honor firefighters from Hood River County Sunday.
Local churches are planning two events, a morning service at Immanuel Lutheran, and an ecumenical potluck and memorial event that same evening.
In all three events, plans include music, words and prayer to give shape to our collective and enduring grief over 9/11. In addition, special attention will be given to remembering the ultimate sacrifice made by firefighters and emergency responders who died as a result of the terrorist attacks.
"All too often our firefighters go without thanks for risking their own lives to save others and we felt the 10th anniversary of 9/11, when memories resurface of lives lost in the line of duty, is the right time to pay tribute to our emergency responders," said Jack Trumbull, owner of Anderson's Tribute Center. Firefighters will be attending from Pine Grove, Odell, Parkdale, West Side, Hood River and Cascade Locks departments.
Whichever event you choose to attend, or in whatever manner you prefer to remember 9/11, we urge you to do something intentional on Sunday.
It might be as simple as stopping, as a family or church or even work group, for a moment of silence at that fateful clock strike of 8:46 a.m.
That time of day on Sept. 11 is a permanent "I remember exactly where I was" moment for most adults, and likely a lot of young people as young as 16.
The first-decade remembrance carries that odd, contradictory quality that comes with any awareness of the passage of time since a significant event.
That sensation is expressed conversely as "Has it really been 10 years?" as well as "Hasn't it always been this way?"
To some of us, there is a sense of permanence to changes that accompany the individual as well as governmental and societal responses to 9/11.
The 10th anniversary will certainly not be the last milestone remembrance of this date that is a true watershed moment in our national consciousness. It is our hope that we as a people never grow complacent, and always retain a high awareness of the legacy of 9/11.
Our society experienced a strong sense of unity just after 9/11. We are affected by 9/11 no matter what our political views may be. Tragic as the event was, 9/11 must be looked upon as a unifying occasion. The anniversary is something all citizens have in common. Also, it differs from many other days of national consciousness in that any 9/11 remembrance (the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts aside) pays tribute not to people in the military but to citizens.
It was average folks, be they citizens aboard the jets or firefighters and police officers on the ground, who are the heroes we honor and remember this weekend.