Heroes are people who put their lives in peril in order to save others. We pause this weekend to remember the heroes of Sept. 11, 2001, along with all who perished.
The heroes include the fire and rescue personnel who entered the burning, falling twin towers in New York City. Many never made it out. They include people working in those towers who helped others escape. They include passengers and crew from the United Airlines flight that was headed toward a Washington, D.C., target. They rushed a cockpit door, knowing they would die in the effort.
The heroes include those men and women of our armed forces who were sent to Afghanistan in search of the 9-11 masterminds and who dealt with dark caves, roadside IEDs, and suicide bombers. Some died. Some were crippled or maimed.
We are supposed to be able to learn from our mistakes. In the days after 9-11, America felt united and committed to our country and its protection. While that feeling seems distant today, we shouldn’t despair.
Twenty years after Pearl Harbor, America was deeply divided. A close presidential election had just ended. The decade would plunge us into bitter disputes over foreign wars, race, and domestic culture. We recovered, went to the moon, and made revolutionary molecular discoveries that are unraveling disease.
Let’s hope that the future can be that bright, God willing.