It has been six years since radical Islamic terrorists commandeered four commercial airliners, crashing them into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania.
We rallied together afterward in support of our country and for emergency workers. Yet because our natural state seems to be one of bickering and divisiveness - sort of like the city of Augusta, on a larger scale - within days our nation was again at odds over the response to the attacks.
We went to Afghanistan to attack the Taliban, the cultivators of the terrorists. The nation enthusiastically supported it. Then we moved into Iraq, just as the enthusiasm began to ebb.
Now, we are told nationwide that more people oppose the continuing war in Iraq than support it. My bet is that those numbers are far different in our community with its close ties to the military.
But whatever anyone's view of the war, it must not be forgotten that on Sept. 11, 2001, our country suffered the worst attack on our soil in history. After that attack, and in the deaths from the attempted rescues, we suddenly, collectively understood the value of our emergency workers.
Those brave souls, including the hundreds who work among us in the community every day, will be honored at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday morning in a brief ceremony at the flagpole in front of the Justice Center.
As we have each year since the attacks, Columbia County residents will come together to remember those who have sacrificed themselves for the rest of us, and to honor those who continue to protect and serve our community each day: firefighters, law enforcement officers, emergency medical workers, emergency management staff and, of course, the military.
It is important that we do not forget why so many of our friends and neighbors are fighting a war on the other side of the world. And it is equally important that we remember those who are protecting us every day here at home.
If you have just a few minutes Tuesday morning, drop by the Justice Center to show your support - and to refresh your memory.
Young voices needed
This month's Columbia County water-bill insert includes a survey about events in the county.
Young people, this is your time to speak up.
The county conducted a similar survey a couple of years ago. Several things stand out:
- Respondents said they liked outdoor Saturday farmers markets and craft shows, and indoor plays.
- In descending order of musical preference, the 501 respondents liked pop, classical, rock 'n' roll, country and jazz.
- Those responding to the survey prefer their events on Saturdays, followed by Friday.
- Suggestions for other events included flea markets, cultural festivals and gospel music events. One respondent wanted to see the county hold "square dancing for novices."
I was suspicious that most responses seem to have come from an older crowd. Sure enough, the age of the average person filling out the survey was about 53; the U.S. Census Bureau says the average age of a Columbia County resident is 34.
So here's your challenge, younger people: If you want your voices heard, swipe that survey from your mom's water bill and fill it out before she can request a scrapbooking convention. Even better, go to the county's Web site to fill out the survey online:
Otherwise, don't complain when the only event next year is the Lawrence Welk Revival Show.
Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to barry.paschal at newstimesonline.com.
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