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Our Opinion: Always Remember

Today we are all taking a moment to think back to the horrible events of Sept. 11, 2001, and how it altered our course as a nation.

The attacks, much like the attack on Pearl Harbor, shook our faith and security. We were suddenly vulnerable and the result was thousands of deaths from the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

History teaches a great many things and its lessons continue throughout the ages if we take the time to listen.

In the wake of one of the most devastating and brazen attacks on our country, America put differences aside and came together like never before.

We will never forget what happened or those who lost their lives on 9/11. Whether we knew somebody who perished or not, we were one America immediately after.

Remembering is the act of knowing who we are as Americans. As we shared the horrors of 9/11, so to do we share the memories. Unlike Pearl Harbor, 9/11 unfolded before our very eyes through live television coverage and a still young internet. News of the attacks spread quickly around the world through the headlines of 24-hour news and newspaper websites.

But as we remember the horror of the attacks and how it united us, we can not remain naive to how some of our fellow citizens were treated in the wake of 9/11 and how it connected to another outcome of Pearl Harbor.

Unfortunately, a group of people were demonized simply because they appeared to be from the Middle East or countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan or India. It was not unlike the 1940s demonization of Japanese Americans, many of whom were confined to internment camps during World War II simply based on a shared heritage as our enemy at the time. It was a completely wrong reaction to the situation, and like Japanese Americans of the 1940s, those of Arabic and Asiatic descent still face discrimination stemming from that moment in September 2001.

It’s two sides to a coin — one side which needs to be lauded and another that we have to confront.

These are the lessons that come out of events like 9/11. We are human and we are fallible, but at no point can we allow evil to go unchecked in the world. The events of 9/11 remind us that evil will never be rooted from society and is always in need of men and women to stand in opposition, whether it is to terrorism or discrimination. Americans from so many different ethnicities lost loved ones that day and continue to deal with the fallout 20 years later.

Yet the underlying lesson still is that on that 9/12, we were one country grieving together. Today we are one country remembering the lives of those we lost.

This is a moment of reflection for Americans on how we can make our country better and stronger; a chance to look in the mirror and agree we are stronger together.

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