Where were you 18 years ago?
Has it been that long? The horror, shock and the deaths of nearly 3,000 people still seems as fresh nearly two decades later from that morning on Sept. 11, 2001. Our world changed that day when al-Qaida terrorists hijacked four airplanes and launched suicide attacks at the World Trade Center Twin Towers in New York, and the Pentagon at Washington, D.C., with the last thwarted by passengers and the craft crashing in Shanksville, Penn.
Much has been said in the intervening years, and this week many will revisit those events and put our times in context to how this event has shaped our national focus and purpose.
What stands out, though, is the unity, public spirit and celebration of our shared heritage that was demonstrated in the response to these attacks. Beyond politics and social divides, jurisdictions and national borders, everyone came together to respond, help and rebuild.
Not to take away from or diminish this seminal historic moment, but, in our own small way, we witnessed that same spirit and camaraderie here last week when an armed suspect raced across Idaho County, hijacked vehicles and put the region into crisis and lockdown for what he would attempt next in his getaway bid.
Jurisdictions aside, law enforcement agencies came in force to stop this man and end the chaos. Idaho County was assisted from Adams, Lewis and Nez Perce counties, the Nez Perce Tribe, U.S. Forest Service, Idaho Fish and Game, city police from Grangeville and Cottonwood, Idaho State Police, Idaho Transportation Department and Syringa Ambulance. Word also spread neighbor to neighbor, and county residents alerted to the situation to watch out for themselves and each other.
Everyone did what they needed to do, followed planning and training, and kept an eagle-eye open. That’s not something special; it’s what a community does and should do.
It’s something we need to remember in the coming weeks and into the new year, as elections and candidates begin to divide us, and when social advocates park on the far ends of the spectrum to sew discontent for narrow, shortsighted political gains.
We are all in this together, and we have much more in common than separates us.