It's hard to believe that it has been 10 years since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 changed our world in many ways.
Before that day we'd never heard the term "Homeland Security." We had never experienced long check-in procedures or bodily searches at the airport. Al-Qaida hadn't become part of Americans' vocabulary and many of us had never heard of Osama bin Laden.
Up until that point our national economy was in pretty good shape and most Americans had been lulled into complacency about our national security. But when terrorists hijacked airliners and flew them into the twin World Trade Center towers in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. and caused the crash of another jet, United Airlines Flight 93, into a field in Shanksville, Pa., they did more than kill nearly 3,000 Americans. They changed the comfortable life we had known until then and exposed our vulnerability.
While all Americans mourned the tragic events of that day, Columbiana Countians felt the pain even more deeply because we had lost two former residents - Wellsville native Catherine Salter, who died in the World Trade Center collapse and Lt. Col. David Scales, who had attended East Liverpool schools through his junior year of high school. Scales was working in his office in the "E" Ring, the outermost ring of the Pentagon when the Boeing 757 crashed into the building.
Both Salter and Scales were brilliant over-achievers whose lives were tragically snuffed out in this cowardly and senseless attack on our country.
This is the first year we mark the anniversary of the tragedy with the satisfaction that bin Laden, who masterminded the attack, is dead. His death at the hands of U.S. Navy Seals may be celebrated as the end of a monster, but we know, that even though he is gone, our country will never be completely safe from terroristic threats.
Many commemorative ceremonies are planned throughout our nation today. Locally, a ceremony will be held at the flagpole at the Columbiana County Fairgrounds at 1 p.m. and another will be held at 5 p.m. at the Catherine Salter Memorial in Wellsville. Many area churches also plan special events to mark the day.
Inside today's Morning Journal you'll find a special section "9/11 we remember," which includes stories of local and national reactions and remembrances.
We hope these ceremonies and remembrances help keep the tragedy fresh in our minds. We must never let our guard down again and we must never forget Salter and Scales and the 2,996 others who perished on that day.