Do you remember where you were and what you were doing when you heard of the cowardly, dastardly attacks on our country 17 years ago on Sept. 11, 2001?

It seems we tend to remember those things whenever history is made…good or bad.

On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, there were a series of four coordinated terrorist attacks in New York City, Washington, D.C. and Shanksville Pennsylvania. The attacks killed 2,997 people, injured over 6,000 others and caused at least $10 billion in infrastructure and property damage.

That morning I was at home watching Diane Sawyer on “Good Morning America” talking about how a jet airliner had hit one of the twin towers of the World Trade Center.

Then I watched in horror as the second airliner struck the other tower. Like most Americans I remained glued to the TV that day.

I watched as New York policemen and firefighters disregarded their own safety to help their neighbors and perfect strangers. I saw many acts of heroism as the result of one act of cowardice.

That day was an emotional one for the entire nation. That day we were not white or black, Christian or Jew, Democrat or Republican, rich or poor…we were just Americans.

America has come a long way since that terrible day 17 years ago.

We have grown since then, and we’re not complacent about our position in the world. We are more aware that we could be attacked again at any time, any day.

On Tuesday, we remembered those who fell 17 years ago.

Remember to hug your spouse, your children, your grandchildren, your siblings.

Stand up and be proud to be an American, not just on Sept. 11, but everyday.

Paula I. Bryant is the editor of The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at​

Paula I. Bryant is the editor of The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at