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Our view: 'The day they never came home'

The moment, eight years ago this morning, burned into our brains. Or should have. We remember where we were, don't we? We know exactly what we were doing when we heard but didn't quite comprehend. Not at first.

The moment, eight years ago this morning, burned into our brains. Or should have. We remember where we were, don't we? We know exactly what we were doing when we heard but didn't quite comprehend. Not at first.

How could we ever forget how we felt? The helplessness. The fear. Then sadness. And anger.

The U.S. under attack. On our own soil.

The moment changed everything from how we travel to where cruise ships tie up in the Duluth-Superior port to how we define our heroes. Sports figures? Not so much. Hollywood's elite? Not anymore. The men and women who run into danger while we're running away, who ignore their own safety to help any way they can, who protect us and who make us safe, even though we'll never again -- could never again -- enjoy the same sense of security? Yes. Absolutely.

And now another anniversary.

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How will it be marked? How many of us will pause for prayer, to reflect? Will we offer extra hugs to those who mean everything to us the way thousands wish they had on Sept. 11, 2001, when moms, dads, brothers, sisters and others went off to work or who boarded a routine flight and simply never returned home?

Will we take a moment for silence during one of tonight's many high school football games?

Will we attend an annual commemoration? A "Tribute to Our Northland Heroes" is scheduled for 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. today at Wade Stadium. Patriotic music will fill the evening. The chance to remove our caps for the Color Guard or to say thanks and to shake the hands of military members, police officers, firefighters, first responders and others will be available.

Or will we, perhaps, mark the day in a more personal way, as myGoodDeed.org urges? The site was launched as a Sept. 11 memorial. Hundreds of thousands of Americans have visited and pledged to donate blood, take clothes to Goodwill, knit socks for soldiers or do other selfless things in name of recalling the tragedy.

"Some people fear complacency; others fear forgetting. Others have only limited space in memory, and the day is overwritten by the events that followed, by war and hurricane and every family's private trials," Nancy Gibbs wrote in Time magazine on Sept. 10, 2007. "But the record can't be erased, any more than a year can have 364 days. And anything can bring it back full screen, like a glance at a skyline, a siren in the distance, a prayer that comes as reflex as you walk to work and remember the day they never came home."

Remember the day they never came home.

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