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Let’s remember Sept. 11, 2001 | Editorial
The memorial service in Oak Harbor tomorrow will provide a welcome opportunity for Whidbey Islanders to gather, give thanks, and share their remorse at the losses suffered that dark day in U.S. history on Sept. 11, 2001, as well as the pain of the resulting wars and staggering economy that followed the terrorist attacks.
There are not many daily reminders of Sept. 11. Ferry riders waiting on the docks sometimes have their cars sniffed by State Patrol dogs; a recorded voice warns ferry users not to leave bags unattended; access to Whidbey Naval Air Station is more difficult than before 9/11, but at least the Seaplane Base and Crescent Harbor are again open without undergoing a security check. Emergency Services organizations communicate better than they did before that fateful day.
Less obvious reminders of 9/11 are in the faces of Whidbey Island Naval Air Station personnel and their families who have borne the brunt of its aftermath. Sailors have been away from home for much longer than expected and in more dangerous situations than anticipated. Who would have imagined the carrier-based Prowlers would be sent to a desert base in Afghanistan, or that Explosive Ordnance Detachment 11, based at Whidbey during the early years of the wars, would lose six members to enemy bombs? Who can forget the sad, heart-felt memorial services held in Oak Harbor.
Sept. 11, 2001, kicked off wars we never anticipated and it played a significant role in our present economic situation, which seems to be getting worse, not better. Osama bin Laden was finally killed by Navy SEALS, but he probably died thinking that he achieved his goals when he sent terrorists to attack the heart of the U.S. at the World Trade Center and Pentagon, as well as another target we will never know because the hijacked plane crashed.
The heroes of 9/11 were the victims, the first responders and the all-volunteer military that never blinked when called to war. It’s fitting that tomorrow’s ceremony will be hosted by Oak Harbor area fire departments and feature military speakers who saw the Pentagon explode and participated in the ensuing wars. It’s been 10 years. Islanders should give up an hour or so to attend the ceremony at Windjammer Park at 1 p.m. It’s the least we can do to show we remember and give thanks.