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More than ever, America needs to rediscover unity it had after 9/11

With a divisive presidential election coming in November, it can seem as if Americans are less united than they ever have been.

But on this day 19 years ago, that certainly wasn’t the case.

On Sept. 11, 2001, as most everyone knows, America was attacked by terrorists. The attack cost us the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York, heavily damaged the Pentagon just outside of Washington, D.C. and turned the tiny Pennsylvania town of Shanksville into a national memorial site when passengers aboard United Airlines Flight 93, whose flight path actually crossed over a portion of northeastern Mifflin County that morning, overtook the hijackers and caused the plane to crash there before it could reach its intended target in our nation’s capital — either the Capitol building or the White House.

That events of that day caused 2,977 innocent people to perish — most of whom were Americans, but not all — forever leaving a hole in the lives of their friends and families. Many others who were exposed to the toxins in the dust from the Twin Towers’ collapse have since been diagnosed with cancer.

After the attack, this nation’s citizens felt united in the cause to bring to justice whomever masterminded the attack — which was later achieved when Navy SEALs successfully killed Osama bin Laden during a covert operation in Pakistan in 2011.

But since that painful day now nearly two decades ago, our unity has faded and given way to divisiveness. That, obviously, needs to change.

As we observe another solemn anniversary of one of the worst moments in our nation’s history, may we remember how that day brought out the best in us. Of course we felt sad, angry and scared, but also that no matter what we may disagree on, all this nation’s citizens are Americans and we are still united as one nation and willing to help our fellow man when it’s needed most.

We can think of no better way to honor those whose lives were taken that tragic day than get back to being the truly United States of America.

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