Todd Beamer. Andrew King. Jeffrey P. Mladenik. Jason Oswald. Robert Rasmussen. Sue Sauer. Mark Schurmeier. Dan Shanower, Mari-Rae Sopper. Mary Lenz Wieman.
All with suburban ties, these 10 were among the nearly 3,000 people killed exactly 12 years ago when the United States was attacked by terrorists. And though the 12th anniversary isn't getting quite the same attention the 10th anniversary did two years ago, it's important for everyone today to take at least a moment to reflect and remember.
We're pleased to know that many of our communities are marking the occasion with special services.
Naperville, for example, will have a ceremony at the Cmdr. Dan Shanower Memorial, named for the city's native son who was a Naval intelligence officer killed in the attack on the Pentagon. Among the speakers will be a former coach and teacher of Todd Beamer, a Wheaton native who was among the passengers on United Airlines Flight 93 who tried to stop the hijacking of the plane before it crashed into a Pennsylvania field.
Firefighters and police officers will take part in ceremonies all across the suburbs -- from Lombard to Streamwood, Des Plaines to Hoffman Estates -- as they remember the valiant first responders who were killed that day as they tried to rescue people from the burning and collapsing World Trade Center towers.
And perhaps most notably, students -- some who were born after that day that changed America -- will also take part in ceremonies like those being held in Hanover Park and Carpentersville.
There is much to distract us today -- the situation in Syria and the oppressive heat, to name just two. But just as we have taught every child about Pearl Harbor or the Holocaust, every child -- indeed every adult -- needs to be reminded of the horror of that day in 2001, the difficult lessons we learned about our national security and the stories of the victims, the heroes, the families who have been touched by the tragedy of 9/11.
How will you reflect today? Perhaps you will be among the thousands of volunteers throughout the world who have pledged to do a good deed on Sept. 11.
Organizers of the 911day.org said people have promised to give blood (Lombard is holding a community blood drive), donate books, pass out blankets at homeless shelters and volunteer at soup kitchens. According to The Associated Press, one man is flying from Los Angeles to Boston handing out Starbucks gift cards to the flight crew.
"It's very inspiring, to be honest with you," said David Paine, one of the organizers of the National Day of Service and Remembrance. "Our goal all along was just that something good would come from that day."
That should be everyone's hope as well.