The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

September 11, 2013

Pause to remember victims, heroes


The Tribune-Democrat

JOHNSTOWN — The world has changed dramatically in the past 12 years.

We’ll pause to remember the victims and the heroes of that horrible day, Sept. 11, 2001, as we have every year since on this date. We remember the innocents who were killed in New York City, near Washington, D.C., and in a field just outside Shanks-ville. We remember the sacrifices of first responders who gave their lives trying to save others in the World Trade Center and the ultimate first responders, those who fought back aboard Flight 93, as they gave their lives but saved many others by preventing the terrorists from turning the airliner into a missile that likely was aimed at the U.S. Capitol.

The events surrounding the anniversary are becoming more and more subdued each year, but we will never forget what happened on 9/11. The money needed to establish, design and build the Flight 93 National Memorial is now in place.

The support for the project has been overwhelming. More than 110,000 individuals, foundations and corporations contributed to the cause, raising $40 million. That money will be used to develop a lasting shrine at the Somerset County site where 40 passengers and crew members died.

The money will help expand the memorial to include a visitor center complex, learning center and flight path memorial walls.

The securement of the funding and the finalizing of plans for the memorial brought about the end of the Flight 93 Advisory Commission, which met for the final time on Tuesday.

The group, which was created to develop the national memorial, has served its purpose. It has given our region and our nation a lasting tribute to those aboard Flight 93 and we thank them for their service.

As we observe the 12th anniversary of 9/11, we can’t help but wonder what we’ve learned. Our nation has fought two prolonged wars and we’ve lost thousands of servicemen and woman in Afghanistan and Iraq. Yet here we stand, poised on the brink of another military conflict, as our president tries to build support to attack Syria.

The opposition from the American public is clear – a recent poll by The Associated Press found that only 1 in 5 Americans believe that failing to respond to chemical weapons attacks in Syria would embolden other rogue governments and that 53 percent of respondents fear that a strike would lead to a long-term military commitment in Syria.

We also have that fear. Our nation has seen enough blood shed on foreign soil in the past 12 years. Let us learn from the past so that it may carry us to a stronger future.