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Honor Sept. 11 by helping others

Today, we remember. Many miles separate Denton County and the scenes of the catastrophic events of Sept. 11, 2001, but those who were lost, injured or had their families torn asunder by the attacks are all in our hearts today.

Just as we will never forget where we were or what we were doing when we first heard the news, we will always recall the courage of those who responded to the call for aid — often at the risk of their own annihilation — in the first minutes following the attacks.

We will also think of those who answered the call to service in the days and weeks that followed that September morning and worked to begin the process of healing and rebuilding that continues today.

We will fly our flags at half-staff in memory, and we will pause shortly before 9 a.m. to observe a moment of silence to honor all of the innocent victims.

Yes, Denton County is many miles from where the airliners crashed into the World Trade Center’s twin towers in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and the field in Pennsylvania. But the tragic events of that day 11 years ago touched each of us — immediately and forever.

No matter how we learned of the tragic events — a television newscast, a radio bulletin, a telephone call — suddenly, the distance between Denton County and our neighbors to the northeast diminished. We felt and shared their pain and fear.

We came together as one nation, one people. We stood united.

The world has changed forever since that fateful day, but our nation still stands, stronger and more determined than ever to resist and defeat the terrorist forces that launched the attacks.

Today is the anniversary of those attacks, but it is also a day that serves to remind us of the true character of our nation.

We honor the memories of the fallen today, but we also pay tribute to the American spirit and our greatest strengths — our love of freedom and our faith in one another.

Perhaps the best way to remember, to pay tribute, is to continue the commitment to service that developed in the days following Sept. 11, 2001. Just as people from around the nation reached out to help in those dark days 11 years ago, we can continue to reach out to our neighbors today.

Look around you and find a way to help. Make a commitment today to become involved in your community, to give of yourself to make the world a better place.

We believe that could be best way to pay tribute to those who were lost — to make sure that we never forget.

It’s a lasting legacy and a way to ensure that our nation will always remain strong.