Look back on Sept. 11 with honor, reverence


By Ryan Jeltema • Last Updated 5:10 pm on Thursday, September 08, 2011

Journalists are trained to remain above every story. Don’t get involved in whatever is happening and don’t develop an emotional attachment one way or another, we’re taught in college.
It works… about 99.9 percent of time.
Every once in a while a story comes along that affects us too. We throw objectivity and impartiality aside because we, like you, are deeply affected by what we’re seeing and hearing.
The morning of Sept. 11, 2001, was one of those times.
Like the rest of the country, we watched in horror as planes flew into both World Trade Center towers. We were shocked by the images of the Pentagon — the symbol of American military might — broken and burning. We were saddened by the photos of a black stain on the ground in Pennsylvania containing what had been United Airlines Flight 93.
As days wore on we joined the chorus of patriotic fervor that swept across the country. We all seemed as one that fall.
The events of that awful day seem so far away. And they are — a decade as of Sunday. Time has passed, wounds have healed, the Pentagon is repaired, new iconic towers are rising on the site of what was the World Trade Center, Osama bin Laden is dead and al-Qaida is a shadow of itself.
But we will pause this weekend to remember all we’ve lost — 3,000 of our fellow citizens and plenty of our innocence. Sept. 11 is part of who we are now. While we don’t want to dwell on the tragedy of that day, we hope to unequivocally show the American spirit at its best rising above some of the worst events our nation has known. And we want to honor the thousands lives of those taken from us that day.
The Rockford area will play host to one of the more stirring memorials with the Healing Field at Cannonsburg Ski Area in Cannon Township. About 3,200 American flags will fly on the ski hill, each representing a victim of the worst terrorist attacks ever to reach our soil. Special events are planned for Friday through Tuesday for all ages. Everyone is welcome to take part.
The Daily News is planning a special series of stories to commemorate the anniversary. From Friday through Tuesday you’ll read about how senior citizens who lived through Pearl Harbor remember both tragedies, how the attacks affected our local public safety professionals on the front lines to protect us and what the attacks mean to our youngest neighbors who weren’t alive a decade ago. We’ll also be at the Healing Field extensively over the next four days.
You’ll also hear about Sept. 11 from your friends and neighbors in their words.
Use the next few days to pause, look back, remember, pray and then move on. It’s the American way.

Editorial opinions are a consensus of The Daily News editorial board.

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