Mayor’s Message: Patriot Day

Parents and grandparents should take the time to educate the younger generations on the attacks that forever reshaped the U.S.

As you read this, the national recognition of the events of September 11, 2001 is a day or two behind us, but consider this our invitation to you for our Mullica Hill recognition, this coming Sunday, Sept. 16 at 6:00 p.m. on Main Street.

We will dedicate our permanent 9/11 Memorial site, located at the corner of Main & Church Streets, at that time. We have chosen to stage this event on a Sunday, as opposed to the actual anniversary, to enable more of our resident to attend, considering that Sept. 11 falls on a Tuesday this year. We are closing Main Street for 90 minutes for the event, and we thought doing so at 6:00 p.m. on a Tuesday night would create havoc. So, plan to make your way up to Main Street on Sunday for the start knowing that the street will be closed from High Street to The Old Mill beginning at 5:45 p.m.

We dedicate our local memorial with the artifacts we have obtained over the years from the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the field in Shanksville, Penn. It’s hard to believe it’s been 17 years since that fateful day. I’ll plagiarize myself from something I wrote last year, since I think it’s worth repeating:

“We all have our own personal version of that moment when our country, our way of life, was attacked. This year, something strange occurred to me, though. 17 years later, we now have an entire generation of Americans who weren’t born yet or they were too young to have a personal memory of the actual event. For them, Sept. 11, 2001, is like Pearl Harbor … something they read about or watch documentaries on. So, it now falls to us, the parents and grandparents, to shape the written and visual accounts of this historic episode for them and future generations.

As always, American resiliency has transformed evil or tragic events into something positive. The fanatical actions of that day are rooted in the perversion of a religion, with its deadly tentacles becoming a global threat in the years since 2001. But this has energized a rising national spirit here. Instead of a perpetual day of mourning, Sept. 11 is now known as Patriot Day and it symbolizes the courage, strength and character of America.

We honor the 3,000 people lost by understanding that 415 of them were first responders in uniform who ran into those burning buildings to save innocent victims. They ran into the Twin Towers. The pure gallantry of that is self-evident and jaw-dropping.

We are inspired by the heroic actions of the passengers on United Flight 93 that can be summed up in the profound selflessness of two words: “Let’s roll.” And we remember that with all its imperfections, America still stands as the beacon of freedom and benevolence to the world. We are like no other culture in human history and Sept. 11 is a day to show our patriotic pride in that distinction and recognize how fragile it is.”