Still feeling the impact 19 years later, we should never forget
Photo by Mike Longo Jr.
President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive at The John Murtha Johnstown Cambria County Airport enroute to the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pa. for the 9/11 remembrance service.
By Rep. Anita Kulik
To say we have all experienced a challenging year is an understatement. But such challenges are nothing new to us as Pennsylvanians or as a nation. Eighty years ago we entered World War II and those who are still around remember the sacrifices that were made when the country came together for the war effort.
Except for the youngest of us, we all remember Sept. 11, 2001.
Very rarely had American soil been attacked, so this was truly a shocking day for us as a nation.
Like many, I remember exactly where I was when I heard the news.
I remember watching the towers fall and I remember sitting with my family listening to the address from President Bush. As Pennsylvanians, we cannot forget the tragedy that occurred near Shanksville.
The crew and passengers on Flight 93 were the truest of patriots and heroes, sacrificing their lives to save others.
I also remember how our nation came together in the wake of the attacks. Pretty much everything shut down until we got a grip on the situation.
Though frightened by the situation, we came together in our patriotism and a particular kindness pervaded our neighborhoods.
Almost 3,000 people lost their lives in the attacks, including so many brave first responders who selflessly went to the scenes to help in the rescue efforts. And we cannot forget those survivors and first responders who would later develop life-threatening illnesses because of exposures at the scenes.
If you are over age 30, you probably have a good memory of that day. It is an experience that must be part of our history. House Bill 2100 is a measure to keep this day in our history.
“September 11th Remembrance Day” does not designate a holiday or a day off. It is meant to be a day of reflection. Under the Act, on September 11 of each year, every public school entity and every public meeting in the Commonwealth shall observe the day with a brief period of silence.
This can only be a good thing for us. Sept. 11, 2001 is too recent an event for us to let our children not know about something that has shaped our world and how we live in such an impressive way.
Standing in the security line at the airport now seems commonplace, for example, but we cannot forget the reason for the measures.
Going through the process of getting a REAL ID may seem arduous, but we cannot forget why we do it.
By no means have the effects of 9/11 left us. The war on terrorism has not ended and is still fought by the best of our young people.
The sacrifices they make are as immeasurable as those of any soldiers gone off to war. We are more aware, though, of their sufferings than we may have been for other wars.
Not only have these brave individuals suffered physical injuries, but the mental health issues that plague them are immense.
We continue to this day to address the issues faced by our soldiers, veterans and first responders through the House Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee.
Bills like 2100 and those that consider the welfare of our soldiers, fire personnel and EMS providers continue to be addressed by the committee. It is the committee assignment of which I am most proud.
In our most recent committee meeting, we passed out HB2022, which will establish the Veteran’s Outreach and Support Network Program.
The purpose is to improve the health and well-being of veterans and their families, particularly those transitioning from military service to civilian life. Other measures to support veterans and emergency personnel and situations will be ongoing as we continue to maneuver through the issues currently facing us.
As the effects of the events of September 11, 2001, continue, we cannot let the memory of this day fade away in our history. As well, we must continue to support those that survived the attacks and those that took up the fight to preserve our freedoms.