Record editorial: 20 years later, memories of 9/11 remain fresh
It’s hard in some ways to fathom that so much time has passed since our nation — and the world — was upended by the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001. Most Parkites likely remember the details of their experiences that day with specificity: where they were when they learned of the attacks, who they were with, how they felt as the events unfolded.
Two decades later, the sights and sounds that emanated from our televisions are indelible: the airplanes exploding into the towers. The buildings collapsing, one then the other, in a mountain of rubble and smoke. The Pentagon, a symbol of America’s might, on fire.
In Park City, we looked on with horror and confusion, shaken by a calamity that seemed to defy logic. Some of us feared for the safety of loved ones in Manhattan. And with the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics just months away, we worried about whether our town, which was slated to host roughly half the events, could be a target for terrorism.
The years have provided distance for many of us, but little resolution. Even now, it remains difficult to comprehend the senseless loss of life that day, the heroism displayed by those who sought to help and the hatred that compelled the people who carried out the attacks.
The calamitous U.S. military exit from Afghanistan, which leaves that country back under Taliban control, has done little to provide closure on a defining period in American history. It instead has ripped open our nation’s wounds, forcing us to confront the failures of the war on terror and of U.S. policy in the Middle East in the wake of the attacks.
How, then, should Parkites and other Americans mark the 20th anniversary of 9/11? By remembering those who lost their lives, and seeking to honor them by trying, in whatever ways we can, to replicate one of the few good things that resulted from the tragedy: the kinship that emerged in the weeks that followed.
Like the fear and uncertainty we all felt, the memory of our solidarity as Americans and Parkites is enduring. Our community and our nation have changed in fundamental ways since then. As a country, especially, there are gaping divides that make the unity of that time seem from a bygone era.
But 20 years after Sept. 11, 2001, we can still find it within ourselves to see the humanity in one another and to forge a common cause with our neighbors — a goal that is as essential as it is difficult.
Amid the sorrow and heartache that accompanies the anniversary of one of the darkest moments in American history, let that be one beacon of light.
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