Americans will never forget Sept. 11, 2001

Across this great nation, communities like Marshall observed another 9/11 anniversary on Monday. Once again we are reminded of that sorrowful day when al-Qaida hijackers flew commercial airplanes into New York’s World Trade Center.

The large U.S. Flag was waving in the wind on top of fire department ladder truck in the front of Memorial Park Monday. A first responder from New Jersey who raced to the scene of destruction in New York was the main speaker. Dan Weck stood next to the 9/11 memorial at the park and shared his experiences and thoughts about losing friends in the attack.

His main message: “Please, for me, for everyone, please never forget.”

In Washington D.C., President Donald Trump presented the same message during his first commemoration of the solemn anniversary of the 2001 attack. Trump said that “Living, breathing soul of America wept with grief” for each of the nearly 3,000 lives that were lost on that day 16 years ago. He called the attack worse than the Japanese assault on Pearl Harbor during World War II because it targeted civilians.

He also reminded us that when America is united “no force on earth can break us apart.”

No matter how politically divided U.S. citizens are at this point in our history, Americans prove time after time they unite in times of peril. Recently, Americans united to help those victimized by Hurricane Harvey in Texas. Hundreds of volunteers launched boats to rescue those surrounded by rising flood waters. A Church from Ghent drove donations to Texas. A fundraising effort by NFL player JJ Watt has raised more than $30 million for relief efforts.

Another example of Americans coming together happened in Cleveland for the Browns’ opener Sunday. After controversy involving NFL players protesting during the National Anthem, players ultimately decided to unite with first responders. Police officers, firefighters and EMTs ran out with the players onto the field before the start of the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

“Today and every day, we are banded together as one,” Pro Bowl left tackle Joe Thomas said.

And right here in southwest Minnesota, hundreds of people attended a benefit Sunday to raise funds for a Balaton firefighter who suffered a massive stroke.

Americans don’t agree on everything. There are different ideas, standards, values and religions. But when disaster strikes, a crisis develops, when attacked by enemies or mother nature strikes, Americans will always unite.

It was President Trump who reminded us of that American trait on Monday: “But America cannot be intimidated, and those who will try will join a long list of vanquished enemies who dare test our mettle.”

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