Tuesday’s editorial urges readers to use today’s anniversary of Sept. 11 as a day of service to help others:
Many across the nation will wake up today and remember it as a day of tragedy, as a day of national mourning commemorating the loss of thousands of innocent lives in the terrible terrorist attacks that occurred 11 years ago this morning. And it is vital that we remember, so that we can both honor those who lost their lives and so that we can continue the efforts to prevent future atrocities.
To that end, there will be ceremonies and memorials up and down the Grand Strand today. Myrtle Beach will dedicate a new memorial at Broadway at the Beach. The retired law enforcement officers in the Coastal Carolina Shields will host a memorial in the Hall of Heroes at the Ocean Dunes hotel. North Myrtle Beach will hold a candlelight vigil at the Ocean Boulevard horseshoe, complete with 21-gun salute. Any of these events, or any of the many others that take place, would be well worth your time.
But today, fittingly, has become not only a day to feel patriotic, wave flags and participate in a ritual of communal grief. It has also become a national day of service, when we turn those emotions into action and take time out of our busy schedules to do some good for others, rekindling that spirit of unity and community aid that flourished in the days after 9/11.
For a few hours 11 years ago, the world seemed as if it were crashing down around us. The cowardly zealots who attacked our nation succeeded briefly in sowing their seeds of terror as we waited and wondered what fresh act of cruelty might next flash across our TV screens. We were bowed low for a moment as we watched the planes crash into the towers. We cried as the scale of the attack sunk in. We felt helpless as we came face to face with evil willing to go to any length to hurt us.
But we were not beaten. And we will not be beaten. The memorials held today will emphasize such facts. But we cannot and should not let such ideals remain mere words. The best response to the horror perpetrated upon us is not more violence, though the efforts of our heroic armed forces are necessary and good. No, the real antidote to terror is hope and kindness, a defiant goodness that refuses to allow those who seek to tear our nation apart the satisfaction of seeing us cower. Today we can fight back. Today we can show once again that those evil plans will not triumph, now or ever.
What better way to show our united spirit than to dedicate our time to helping our fellow citizens? We can transform what was a day of fear and anguish into one of caring, a day that celebrates instead the humanity and common spirit that binds us together as a nation.
Not sure how to help or where to give your time? There are plenty of options available and more needs than anybody could hope to fill. A good place to start would be the website of either the Horry County or Georgetown County United Way. Both organizations list the many local partner agencies that receive United Way funds, agencies that are almost always in need of volunteers and assistance.
Throughout the year, read the editorial page on Wednesdays to learn more about individual nonprofit groups and charities in our area and the needs of such. Don’t think you have the time or energy to give on such a formal basis? Lend a hand wherever you can. Help an elderly neighbor with her groceries. Hold the door for a mother with a stroller. Bend down and pick up the litter on the sidewalk instead of passing it by. It doesn’t really matter how you choose to give back. It just matters, today of all days, that we do.