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Can it possibly be 21 years since that bright September morning when our world changed?

In hindsight, we were so secure in our confidence, so sure in the year 2001 that we knew what was ahead, that things were bright, that the future was secure, and that the United States was unshakable. Now, we seem less sure.

Commercial airliners turned into weapons of war shook our worldview as certainly as they brought down the towers of the World Trade Center, blew holes in the walls of the Pentagon, and created a crater of humanity given for democracy in the fields of Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The tragedy of that day has echoed down to us through the years, in wars, in domestic strife, and in sorrow and determination not to let this happen again.

On Saturday, Governor Jared Polis released the following statement ahead of the 21st anniversary of 9/11:

“Today, we remember the moment in history that forever changed our country and the world as we knew it. We mourn the innocent lives and all the brave first responders who we lost on that day and all those who sacrificed their lives to protect freedom since. We reflect how 21 years ago, in the face of challenge, Americans came together stronger than ever before and showed the world that freedom will not be taken and the American people will not be broken,” said Polis. “Instead, in the face of violence, Americans became stronger and more united to fight terrorism. Today, as we remember the 21st anniversary of 9/11, let us honor and thank all the first responders who responded that day, and the military members who have bravely sacrificed to serve to combat terrorism to protect our freedom.”

 Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet released the following statement ahead of the 21st anniversary of the September 11th attacks on the United States of America:

“Twenty-one years ago, terrorists struck our nation in an evil and cowardly attack. As we mourn the thousands of innocent lives taken from us that day, we also honor the heroism of our first responders and the men and women who have served and sacrificed over two decades to keep us safe.

“The true legacy of September 11 is not the attacks themselves, but America’s response. The terrorists sought to destroy our freedom, democracy, and way of life. They failed. We met their fear with hope. We answered their hatred with unity. We faced the darkness and endured. In the years ahead, we must hold onto that shared sense of patriotism and purpose to protect our nation.”

The question could be asked: From where will the real threats to this country, our people, and our democracy come? We seem to be in a time when the threats are from within. Perhaps we should take note of the words of Abraham Lincoln, who said, “a house divided cannot stand.” His life was sacrificed just as he thought the goal of unification had been achieved.

Featured image: An Associated Press photo of over Manhattan on 9-11 as the World Trade Center burns.