By HDN Editorial Board
Anniversaries are usually welcome dates. Wednesday's anniversary of the terrorist attack on America's home shore was not the case. While our nation owed it to those lost to remember the somber occasion, the American public and those charged with protecting us from similar attacks faced the day with trepidation. Polls showed that a large number of Americans feared another attack on the anniversary.
America and the world have changed dramatically from a year ago.
Prior to 9/11, we suffered little anxiety boarding a plane, attending a sports event, or simply opening up our mail. Last summer most of us didn't know what al-Qaida is. The CIA, FBI, INS and other counterterrorist agencies were page three news. A year ago we took for granted our firefighters, police and other emergency workers, and gave little thought to our armed forces and National Guard and Reserves. About the only people who owned flags were members of the VFW and American Legion, and most of us paid polite attention at best to the playing of our national anthem.
All that changed a year ago, and not for the better. Today terrorism is a daily fear, and causes us to take pause in our daily tasks. Terrorist acts and rumors of terrorism dominate the front pages of newspapers and begin every newscast. Counterterrorism efforts are scrutinized for past failings and what-ifs for the future. America can, however, take pride in the heroes of the day, and show our admiration for those public servants who daily put their lives on the line. Today flag makers can't keep up with demand, and the playing of the national anthem and "God Bless America" receives improved respect and participation.
A lot has changed from a year ago, and the question arises how to observe the anniversary in the coming years. There are those who suggest Sept. 11 should be a national holiday, while others suggest that holidays should be reserved for days of celebration. Americans would be hard pressed to find anything to celebrate about that tragic day, but the firefighters, police, emergency workers and the armed forces certainly deserve our admiration for the sacrifices they made Sept. 11 and in following days.
History suggests the memory of the day will wane in coming years, and therein lies the danger. Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it. Holiday or not, we should never forget Sept. 11, 2001.
The best part of Tuesday's anniversary was the absence of a new tragedy. Returning the security Americans felt before 9-11-01 in the coming years would be the highest tribute to those lost a year ago.