Our view: Remembering the heroes of 9/11 and beyond

Published 3:40 pm Thursday, September 15, 2022

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During the weekend, our nation passed the 21st anniversary of the most horrific terrorist attack to occur on its own soil.

Many people remember vividly where they were located on Sept. 11, 2001, the moment they saw the second plane hit the World Trade Center in New York in a live broadcast of the attack and the tragedy that it caused.

The entirety of 9/11 claimed the lives of the 2,977 victims as well as the 19 hijackers responsible for the nefarious deed.

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As much as we should honor the memories of the victims whose lives were tragically cut short, we must also recognize the heroes spurred into action from this historical moment.

From the first responders who put their lives on the line to rescue survivors trapped in the buildings and subsequent rubble to those who were moved in such a way, they chose to dedicate a portion of their lives to military or public service, each of those individuals deserve a wholehearted salute.

The events of 9/11 created a ripple effect, resulting in more heartbreak and heartache for families whose members paid the ultimate price. The U.S. lost 4,432 military and civilians during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, and an article published by Business Insider on Aug. 26 reported 6,951 U.S. service members have been killed in post-9/11 war zones.

Worldwide, the casualty toll exceeds 500,000 – many of those either police force members or civilians, but it seems like the world is not ready to have that conversation just yet.

In all this sorrow, all this heartache, and all this tragedy, there’s an unseen hero we should all be acknowledging – the survivors who have to live with the unenviable burden of being reminded every year to “Never Forget 9/11,” in a way forcing them to relive the trauma and details of the horrors that day wrought upon them. We hope the mass recognition of the horrible loss of life and those who sought to save others will soften their grief.

They’re bigger heroes than they may ever realize.