September 11: Mourning, Marking, Celebrating

9_11_signWe’ve tagged this post “holidays,” but that doesn’t feel quite right. September 11 isn’t a national holiday yet, nor is it an anniversary of something we’d like to remember (or are likely to forget). But like Memorial Day and Veterans Day, it’s a day of honoring the loss and sacrifice of those who fell in war—a war they weren’t aware was underway until it was too late.

The first heroes of September 11 were the people in the planes, who attempted to fight back and to get word out to their loved ones, and in the buildings, who tried to get as many people out as possible. Next are the amazing first responders, those who ran into the burning, collapsing structures as others were running away from them. These people exemplified the best of what we can be as a nation: brave, willing to risk everything to help others, strong in moments that would weaken anyone.

We also honor those who responded in the days and weeks after the attack: those who searched the wreckage for survivors and remains, the people who helped the searchers with food, showers and encouragement (and socks for the canine searchers’ feet) and the crews who reverently cleared the sites, finally finishing their work in May 2002.

As much as September 11 is noted for what we lost as a nation, it can also be seen as a day to mark our determination not just to survive but to rebuild and come back stronger. In the 10 years since the attacks, we’ve also had to rebuild our economy in the wake of financial desolation. And it might have taken longer than we’d like, but we are starting to come back stronger from that, too.

This weekend, Reliance honors not just those who were lost on September 11, but those who have helped and are still helping America rebuild in every way.

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