A call to ‘care for each other through the turbulence’

A call to ‘care for each other through the turbulence’Nearly two decades later, most of us who were alive to remember it still recall exactly where we were when it became apparent, on Sept. 11, 2001, that our country was under attack. Two aircraft had flown into the World Trade Center in New York City. Hours later, the burning towers crumbled, burying thousands of workers — and the first responders who answered the call to help — under a pile of smoking rubble. Another plane collided into the pentagon.

Miraculously, the brave passengers on Flight 93 discovered the intent of their captors, and steered the aircraft away from the White House. Those heroes died in a field in rural Pennsylvania. Nearly 3,000 Americans perished in these events. And the shaking of two major centers of power left all of us shocked.

But there was something good that came out of that horrific event that drew us together. On the steps of our Nation’s Capitol on the day of the attacks, our legislators stood side-by-side and sang “God Bless America.” Young people signed up to defend their country. People flew Old Glory with renewed pride. Our true colors had come out, and they were Red, White and Blue for the world to see.

In 2004, the Ridgecrest Exchange Club learned about a demonstration that paid tribute to the fallen heroes and first-responders, and served as a reminder to all of 9-11 and the days that followed. The following year we launched the Remembrance Field, a presentation of 1,000 flags at Freedom Park. A few years later, we added a parade leading up to the event, to promote visibility and invite public participation.

Today, the current pandemic restrictions prohibit us from gathering. There will be no parade, no field of flags, no vigil to remember the fallen.

But the need remains, perhaps more now than ever, to reflect on the connections that bind us as a country, and as a community. For the last five months, we have been coping not only with a pandemic that threatens lives, and a response that has further threatened livelihoods. We face division on virtually every front.

We experienced a reminder, of sorts, last year when the earthquakes struck. When the ground below us was shaking, we clung to each other for support — the common threat to our community drawing us closer together.

On this anniversary of the 9-11 observance, we have an opportunity to do the same — hold onto our families, friends and neighbors. If we can care for each other through the turbulence, we may come out the other side the better for the experience.

On Sept. 11, 2020, please give a moment to reflect on those who have sacrificed for us throughout the centuries. And stand with us in honoring those sacrifices by ushering in more kindness, more justice and more opportunity for our children to inherit.

— Timothy Neipp, Exchange Club of Ridgecrest president

Story First Published: 2020-09-11