Community Commentary: After 9 years, did we forget?

As the ninth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks nears, it's important to compare our patriotic attitudes then to our attitudes today.

Nine years ago, we vowed to never forget: To never forget how we felt as we collectively watched the Twin Towers collapse. To never forget that nearly 3,000 innocent lives were lost. And to never forget that more than 400 brave emergency workers lost their lives trying to save others.

We lit candles to memorialize the lost. We donated blood to help the survivors. We proudly displayed the Stars and Stripes on our cars, homes and persons. We gave money to 9/11 charities. We wrote thank you notes to our local police officers. We baked cookies for our firefighters. We wept as we remembered all those who lost their lives on that fateful day.

We realized the fragility of our freedom. We realized that just as those New York rescue workers risked their lives to save members of their community, so do our own local firefighters similarly risk their lives every day to save ours. As we came to this understanding, we responded with an outpouring of support for our police and firefighters. We urged our lawmakers to pass laws and support our local safety officials with the necessary funds to help them carry out their roles.

Fast forward to the present day. Sadly, state and local governments balance budgetary shortfalls by cutting public safety funding, by closing firehouses and laying off safety personnel. Have we forgotten that our police officers and firefighters risk their lives every day for our safety? Do we take them for granted the same way we did before that September day?

Now is not the time for complacency. We must continue to support our safety personnel. We must ensure that our police and fire departments have the proper equipment, training, manpower and, yes, funds to protect our community and its citizens.

It is not too much to give to those who are willing to give so much. We can still write a simple thank you note or take a plate of cookies every once in a while, too. But most importantly, we must never forget how we as a nation responded to and rose above the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001.

HEATHER GROW is a candidate for Huntington Beach City Council.

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