Remembering 911

This year our nation and our community mark the 15th anniversary of 9/11. While we continue to grieve that traumatic day and our tragic losses, we also have a renewed opportunity to re-commit to the unity, dedication, and patriotism we witnessed and experienced on that day and in its aftermath.

9/11 is a day that is carved into my heart. For me, it is a day that changed our nation utterly, and the impacts of that day continue to reverberate down through history. While we may not all agree on the whys and hows and repercussions of 9/11, we probably can agree that we are a different country 15 years later – in some ways better and in other ways not.

On this 9/11 Day of Remembrance, I mourn the innocent lives lost in that cataclysmic attack, but also celebrate the bravery and heroism of first responders everywhere and the everyday heroism of the ordinary person called in the moment to respond in selfless ways.

This year, we also grieve the loss of Chief Steve Marler, who passed away earlier this year. Chief Marler was especially dedicated to the poignancy and importance of remembering 9/11. In his memory and in honor of all those our nation lost on 9/11, I call on residents and visitors of the Town of Friday Harbor to pause on Sunday, September 11th to mark the historical importance of this day. To take a moment to remember those innocent lives lost. To be inspired by those first responders who ran towards the horror and stood up for all that is good in Americans. To recommit to the unity and patriotism we experienced on that day and in its aftermath.

During this challenging time of political turmoil and international unrest, it is especially important to remember that we can be there for one another. We can reach into the fire and smoke and grit and help. Together we are greater than the sum of the parts. In small, everyday ways, we can inspire each other. Fifteen years later, perhaps this 9/11 Day of Remembrance is about the ordinary joy in being a good neighbor, a helpful friend, an involved citizen.

Each year during my term as mayor, I have issued a proclamation calling on all the citizens of the town to join those around the nation and around the world who remember, mourn, and honor. On this 15th anniversary, I do so again. Because it is important to never forget and to always remember. In that way we give some meaning to a senseless and horrific act. Even more than that, I issue this proclamation not just to linger on our losses but to encourage a moment of celebration. For in our grief and loss we can also be inspired by great and small braveries and victories. In this way we can transform the terror and trauma into a deep and transformative act of compassion. I believe this must be the path forward – the way we will continue to heal and strengthen as a community and as a nation.