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9/11: We'll never forget
flag program Lincoln 2019
Ralph Sunley, Commander of Great Bend American Legion Post 180, demonstrates the proper way to fold an American flag during a program for fourth graders at Lincoln Elementary School in this undated file photo.

Those old enough to remember the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 recall that some things changed forever on that day. Family members of 9/11 victims will gather at New York’s Memorial plaza on Saturday to read aloud the names of those killed in the attacks, as well as those killed in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

President Joe Bid and first lady Jill Biden will visit all three sites where hijacked airplanes crashed: The World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon outside Washington, D.C., and the field near Shanksville, Pa., where United Airlines Flight 93 crashed.

The attacks resulted in the War on Terror and the invasion of Afghanistan. Security at airports became more stringent and the Transportation Security Administration was created. Next came the Patriot Act, which allowed the government more freedom to spy on people in this country. Thanks to the Patriot Act and the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, the National Security Administration has nearly unchecked authority to listen to our phone calls and read our text messages and emails. In exchange for giving up some of our freedom, there has not been another attack of this scope by foreign agents on American soil.

It can be argued that 9/11 has changed everything: from television and art to sports and education. It has changed America’s image and the attitude of its people.

On the plus side, 9/11 created a sense of unity among many Americans. For a time, we recalled our nation’s motto, E Pluribus Unum, “out of many, one,” which is found on the Great Seal of the United States. We also became more aware of the rest of the world. We hope we are safer and wiser.