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Never forget the sacrifices

As the nation remembers the terrible tragedies that occurred 20 years ago on September 11th, we also remember and honor the heroism of the public employees who responded with courage and patriotism that day, and with steadiness during the months and years of recovery and rebuilding that lay ahead. 

While most of us were frozen with shock as we watched terrorists guide planes into the towers in New York and into the Pentagon, and in horror as we realized the crash in Shanksville, Pa., wasn’t an accident, the police officers, fire fighters, emergency management technicians, and so many other public employees were suiting up to run toward the danger and wreckage at those sites. 

In the days that followed, we found out just how a big sacrifice so many first responders made when we saw how many fire fighters and police officers were among the dead. 

In the months ahead, we witnessed all of the heroes who returned again and again to those places of pain and sorrow to sort through the rubble looking for the remains of the people who were killed. 

We also remember the strain placed on teachers who had to stay strong through difficult conversations with their students, trying to help them understand the incomprehensible. 

We saw the best of our public servants that day, and they helped us feel united and resilient in the days that followed. 

This September 11th, may we remember the sacrifices that were made by so many public employees, and may we honor that sacrifice by recommitting to do more for one another and for our nation. 

Suzanne Bates

Suzanne Bates is Senior Writer and Researcher with Americans for Fair Treatment, a community of current and former public-sector workers offering resources and support to exercise their First Amendment rights. Prior to joining Americans for Fair Treatment in 2020, Suzanne worked as a journalist for the Associated Press, as Policy Director with the Yankee Institute, as a contributor for The Hartford Courant, and as a regular commentator for WNPR’s The Wheelhouse.

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