9-11 ceremony an opportunity to unite and remember

Seventeen years ago, 19 terrorists hijacked four fuel-loaded American commercial airline jets that were bound for destinations on the West coast. These individuals were militants associated with the Islamic extremist group al-Qaeda.

Two of the planes crashed into the World Trade Center. Another plane crashed into the Pentagon. Almost 3,000 people were killed in the coordinated attacks.

For 30 minutes today, we can assemble at Memorial Park in downtown Marshall to once again remember what happened on Sept. 11, 2001. A ceremony starting at noon will give us the opportunity to remember those who perished in the terrorist attacks, but also honor the men and women in uniform who died in defending our freedom.

But this ceremony also gives us the opportunity to unite for at least 30 minutes as Americans. Forget about the labels that now divide us. We are not just Democrats or Republicans. We are not just liberals or conservatives.

We are all Americans.