Community Commentary: Don't let Sept. 11 fade into our memory

Sunday marks the 10th anniversary of the cowardly terrorist attacks on this great nation.

It was on Sept. 11, 2001, that two hijacked planes crashed into the towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. A third plane crashed into the Pentagon outside Washington, D.C. and a fourth plane crashed in southwestern Pennsylvania after passengers tried to take control of the aircraft in order to prevent the hijackers from crashing into an important symbol of democracy and freedom and killing even more citizens.

Thousands of innocent people lost their lives in this tragedy. That day in September 2001 ranks as the most devastating day in our nation's history.

We vowed we would not forget. But have we? Domestic issues and war in Iraq have our attention, and for good reason. But I fear 9/11 is fading in our memories, now relegated to a single paragraph in newspaper stories and occasional references on television.

Hundreds of families still suffer gaping holes. A mother, a father, a brother, a child is no longer among them. Along with these loved ones, more than 300 emergency service workers perished in the attacks and their survivors continue to live with the pain of 9/11 daily.

Those of us who were not directly affected by the attacks are at a disadvantage. With Ground Zero not outside our front door and the Pentagon not visible from our window, the anger we felt that day is perhaps starting to fade. Half a world away, the enemies who hatched that terrorist attack are counting on that.

Convinced we are a nation of materialists, they do not think we have resolve. They do not think we will triumph over them. How wrong they are! Let it be said on this Patriot Day that we shall win. Even as we gather to remember those lost in the attacks, America's military is tracking down terrorists and securing liberty at home and abroad.

If the memory of 9/11 is fresh for anyone, it is for our men and women in uniform. As they patrol Iraq and Afghanistan, weathering rocks, bullets, bombs and extreme heat, they are dismantling piece by piece the terrorist networks that threaten peace and security worldwide. We are indebted to them for their willingness to protect our country. God bless our armed forces.

To commemorate those thousands who lost their lives and to honor those first responders and our military, the members of American Legion Post 222 will be attending the dedication of a 9/11 memorial, "Semper Memento," organized by the city of Laguna Beach at 11 a.m. Sunday at Monument Point in Heisler Park.

I urge all of you to join us at this event to show your support and to send a message that we will never forget nor will our resolve to eradicate terrorism fade away. After the dedication there will be a joint luncheon with the Exchange Club at 1 p.m. back at the Post with the local Police and Fire Departments as our honored guests.

FRANK DANIEL is the commander of the American Legion Post 222.

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