Although the World Trade Center wasn't located anywhere near Alabama, some people with close ties to the state were killed in the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Click here to read about the lives of our former neighbors, colleagues, classmates, and friends lost that fateful day.

On this day, each year since September 11, 2001, people across the nation remember the day that we became more aware of terrorism and how it has changed the face of the country economically, in transportation security, and in terms of tolerance for cultural diversity.

I remember exactly what I was doing at the time that I got the news, and I remember thinking, "Jared's (my brother) birthday celebration is going to be overshadowed by the sadness and panic felt all over the country." [Happy 39th, Jared!]  But in the days and weeks following, stories began to emerge from people who were supposed to have been near the location of the World Trade Centers or Pentagon but weren't for various reasons.

In my family, aside from realizing my brother's birthday would forever be marked as a "day of mourning" across the country, we realized one of my aunts worked at the Pentagon.  Once we knew she was okay, we were a bit more at ease.

Since that time, each year, we've taken the time to not only remember those affected in the attacks but to also acknowledge the sacrifices made by first responders. We are grateful.

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