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WHAT WE THINK: Today we celebrate our first responders

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9-11 generated memories of horrors but appreciation for those who keep us safe.

Every year when the calendar strikes Sept. 11, the memories of that awful day 12 years ago come blasting back to the forefront of our consciousness.

There is nothing that can change the images of airplanes flying into skyscrapers and the Pentagon or the understanding that evil forces wanted to destroy Americans and upset our way of life. It was indescribably horrible and unfathomably confounding. Why would citizens of another country want to sacrifice their lives to create terror and panic?

As consuming as that horror can be, there also is the other byproduct of Sept. 11:

We created a national resolve to fight terrorism and accept that each of us must bear a bit more inconvenience and delay in order to maintain safety for the masses.

We also developed a new and undying respect for first responders – the exemplary heroes of Sept. 11 – who risk their lives daily to protect us, to respond to our needs, to help us maintain the quality of life we embrace. Shelby County has hundreds who serve in those roles, many of them on a strictly volunteer basis.

To that point, today, Sept. 11, we suggest you take a moment to thank a first responder for that vigilance.

Call a firefighter, approach a police officer, send a note to an EMT.

Let them know that you appreciate all that they do and that you know that in a moment of need, they will be there to take care of you.

And, on behalf of everyone, we say this:
Thank you, first responders. You are our heroes.