The more time that passes, the danger grows that what happened on Sept. 11, 2001, could drift away from our memories. It’s on every American to make sure that doesn’t happen.

This year marks the 18th anniversary of the multi-pronged terrorist attack that killed 2,977 Americans that day. More people died over the months and years from respiratory illnesses, cancers and other ailments caused by the destruction. Many of those who died after the fact were first responders who ran to the aid of those caught in this nightmare without fear of the consequences that awaited them.

It was a bright and sunny day along the East Coast that quickly turned grim. At 8:46 a.m., five hijackers crashed American Airlines Flight 11 into the North Tower of the World Trade Center. Those watching the situation unfold on television were wondering if this was a horrible accident. That thought went out the window less than 20 minutes later when United Airlines Flight 175 crashed into the World Trade Center’s South Tower. The terror was just starting as American Airlines Flight 77 flew into the Pentagon at 9:37 a.m. This was no accident, it was a coordinated attack on our country.

That attack could have been more devastating if not for the heroic actions of those onboard United Airlines Flight 93. The passengers fought back against the terrorists with the plane crashing near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. It is widely believed that United 93 was bound for either the White House or the U.S. Capitol Building.

In the span of about 80 minutes, the country was changed forever, but our hour of need was also a prime example of what makes America and its citizens a great country. Thousands of first responders put their lives on the line to rescue as many people as they could. Millions of others around the country did what they could to help — everything from donating money to just providing a shoulder to cry on. Every gesture, big and small, meant something to somebody.

In the years since those attacks, we have not forgotten what happened. We rejoiced in 2011 when Osama bin Laden, the mastermind behind the attack, was finally brought to justice by American forces. We rebuilt the damage done at the Pentagon. We rebuilt the World Trade Center back into an economic hub for the world and a place to remember the fallen.

America continues to go strong, so strong that it might be easy for the younger generation who wasn’t alive when the attacks happened to not realize just how important 9/11 will always be. It’s up to us as all Americans to make sure that never happens.

There will be remembrance ceremonies in Glynn County at the Ballard Fire Station on Community Road and at College of Coastal Georgia at 9 a.m. today. Even if you can’t be at one of those events, please take a moment to reflect and remember all those we lost that day. We should never forget what happened on that fateful September day.

More from this section

The Brunswick chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution will replicate a historic event with a tree-planting ceremony at 2 p.m. in Queen Square on Thursday, Nov. 10.