Saturday will mark the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks against the United States that killed 2,977 innocent people in New York City, Arlington, Va., and Shanksville, Pa. One of the victims lived in Windham and was aboard the ill-fated Flight 93. He took part in the attempt to recapture the plane from terrorists.
They say time heals all wounds, but passage of years and events has not dimmed our anger about what occurred on this day, nor diminished the horror of witnessing repulsive acts of war against our nation. Today we find ourselves asking this question: Is it possible that it could happen again?
Many believe tighter security at airports and better-armed soldiers and police have made our country safer. Others believe we live in a world different from 2001 and that political views are less radical. But terrorism is still with us. The savage suicide bombings that ripped through Kabul International Airport, killing 270 people including 13 American troops, is proof of that.
We are still losing post-9/11 victims. First responders who rushed to the scene of the World Trade Center on that day and survived continue to be diagnosed with illnesses caused by their exposure to toxic materials at the site.
The conditions range from asthma and chronic laryngitis to interstitial lung diseases, cancers including Hodgkin’s
disease, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and various forms of leukemia, and numerous respiratory and skin diseases.
Cairo, Hudson, Kinderhook, Greenville and Germantown are among the communities holding solemn remembrances Saturday. Firefighters gathering for the Greene County Volunteer Firefighters Association’s annual dress parade Saturday are likely to take a few moments to honor their brethren who bravely ran toward the danger and the civilian victims of that day.
The sacrifices made by those who died that day and in the days, weeks and years that followed, must never be forgotten.