Sept. 11, 2001, will for most of us be one of those days for which we remember exactly where we were when we first learned the news of terrorism strikes on our nation.

Yet in the 18-year interim, much has happened to and within our borders, and today there are many fewer remembrance events of that day — and that is so nationally and here in the High Country (with notable exceptions, such as the project by the Blue Ridge Garden Club to place American flags at all five community gardens to commemorate the date).

Doubtless, as we approach the 20th anniversary there will be renewed efforts at memorializing 9/11 — Americans like their dates in round numbers. But, where does that leave us today, with the knowledge that 2,605 U.S. citizens and 372 non-U.S. citizens (excluding the 19 perpetrators) died in the attacks that ushered in so much that shapes the way we safeguard our lives and nation now?

While we may not easily find a public ceremony to attend on the date itself, there is this: Instead, let us personally in private, or by opportunity publicly, thank the combat veterans who have served in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria since Sept. 11, 2001.

Such gratitude toward the men and women who rose to our nation’s defense will remain a beacon to not only the members of our fighting force, but to the rest of the world that American truths and resolve have not wavered.

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