By Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin
Fifteen years ago, on Sept. 11, 2001, West Virginians joined the nation and the world in sorrow and devastation. We gathered around our televisions and watched an act of terror unfold that was beyond comprehension.
On that day, at the World Trade Center twin towers in New York City, at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. and in a field in southwestern Pennsylvania, our nation was changed forever. But in the face of this unimaginable tragedy, Americans stood united and resolute.
First responders, volunteers, recovery workers and members of our military joined together to help our neighbors. We heard stories of heroic bravery – about people who would have described themselves as ordinary citizens before that fateful day.
Today, years later, we honor the fallen. We remember where we were on one of the most infamous days in American history. We thank our first responders, volunteers and military men and women. And we recommit ourselves to being prepared for the unthinkable.
September is National Preparedness Month, a time of increased awareness and action around the critical importance of being ready for emergency situations. A fundamental piece of preparedness is community engagement – getting involved in local organizations that help our communities, volunteering in times of need and supporting our first responders.
West Virginians are known for lifting each other up, for giving a helping hand and expecting nothing in return. That spirit was on full display during the flooding that devastated parts of our state and claimed 23 lives this past June – when we were reminded of how very important it is to be ready when disaster strikes.
I encourage people across the Mountain State to join this national movement. As we honor and remember those lost on September 11, 2001, through prayer and reflection, I hope we also get involved in our communities, celebrate our first responders and share the importance of community preparedness with our neighbors.
For more information about National Preparedness Month, visit www.ready.gov.