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Gallery: The Times extra from Sept. 11, 2001

The Times extra from Sept. 11, 2001

We must regain our common identity as Americans.

Seventeen years ago, the terrorist attacks of 9/11 rattled the foundation of our great nation with unspeakable human tragedy.

Forces from outside the United States attempted to disrupt our nation with a massive body count and fear.

Though the day remains in memory as one of breathtaking loss, many of us also may recall what it did to unite us. It’s a lesson well applied to today’s national divisions.

We stood more united as a nation in the days, weeks and even years following Sept. 11, 2001, than at any time since the fighting of the Revolutionary War.

We had rediscovered our common identity as Americans, even after extremists flew planes filled with innocent people into the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon in Washington and a farm field in Pennsylvania.

Unspeakable tragedy made us want to help one another — to be kinder.

Seventeen years later, where has all that goodwill gone?

Our nation seems perpetually locked in the throes of partisan bickering.

The political landscape has all of the civility of a dog-fighting arena.

Just when we think the outlandish, even abusive, rhetoric of national leaders can't reach a new low — it does.

As we observe the 17th anniversary of one of the most tragic days in our history, we also should remember the spirit of unity the tragedy ignited in our nation's soul.

We are not Republicans, Democrats or even independents.

We are Americans. All of us. Regardless of skin color. Regardless of religion. Regardless of any contrived partisan or demographic labels.

In the days following the tragedies of 9/11, nearly all of us found a way to come together in either deeds or spirit, regardless of our political leanings or backgrounds.

In an era now described as one of the nation's most divided times, we all should remember the post-9/11 spirit of unity and put it back into practice.

There is no better way of honoring the innocent people who died that day.



Members of The Times Editorial Board are Publisher Christopher T. White, Editor Marc Chase, Deputy Editor Kerry Erickson, Assistant Local News Editor Crista Zivanovic and Regional News Editor Sharon Ross.