This year's anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on our citizens and soil carries even more gravity than the 10-year mark we observed just two short years ago.
Memories of the Twin Towers — each a former colossus of American greatness — collapsing into fiery clouds of dust still remain vivid for many of us. Few us can forget seeing the same repeated news footage of passenger planes hitting each of the towers 12 years ago. Some of us still gasp when we watch it today.
Though rebuilt, the destruction of one side of the Pentagon — a symbol of American defense — left a scar on our conscience.
Later reports that passengers aboard another flight sacrificed themselves to down their own plane in a Pennsylvania field before it could hit another target still draws tears from many of us.
While those memories of so many lives lost have remained just as somber year after year on Sept. 11, this year's recollections are heightened by another threat abroad — the mounting crisis in Syria.
As you remember the victims of terror on our own soil today, take a moment to think deeply about the reported victims of a chemical attack in Syria — a crisis unfolding right now.
Our president, Congress and military officials have a bear of a problem with which to grapple in determining how our nation will respond to this crisis. Repercussions will surely follow any prescribed response — attack, remain passive or something in between.
Regardless of your beliefs on the matter, honor the memories of the 9/11 victims by letting your elected federal officials know where you stand on the matter. Emails, phone calls or traditional letters from constituents to senators and representatives are an important part of our government process.
So many reminders exist in the history of human civilization of the potential tragedies that follow when we keep silent in the face of inhumanity. Reminders also exist of the fallout from hasty action without having all of the facts in order.
We can honor the men and women who perished aboard American Airlines Flight 11, United Airlines Flight 175, American Airlines Flight 77 and United Airlines Flight 93; the 2,752 people who perished in the Twin Towers collapse; and the 184 people who died in the attack on the Pentagon in this very important way:
Stay engaged and informed. So many others in our own nation's history have died to allow this.