Our Voice: 9/11 reminds us of many reasons to be thankful

It is difficult to write about 9/11 on Thankful Thursday. But despite the gravity that 9/11 carries with it, we have much to be grateful for. Today we choose to focus on those things.

Still standing

We are grateful we can look back on that dark day in our history -- because it is just that: history.

Terrorists struck at the heart of America with the design to destroy us. They failed.

Yes, they struck hard. Yes, it was horrible and heartwrenching. Yes, our lives have changed because of it.

But we are not destroyed.

Four planes were hijacked and their passengers and crew sacrificed. And for a few days, airlines were grounded. But we still fly.

We have not let the terrorists win

In fact, sometimes when we fly, we complain about the safety precautions that are a legacy from 9/11. For today, the screenings seem like a trivial thing to worry about.

More than 400 firefighters died in New York City that day. We can still remember the eerie sound of the alarm that goes off when a firefighter doesn't move for 30 seconds -- hundreds of alarms going off. Hundreds of firefighters were buried in the rubble.

Yet, firefighters still rush to the scene of a burning building or exploding bombs -- as was the case at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon. We still help each other.

We're thankful we have come this far from that day.

Other first responders were on the scene that day as well. Today is a great day to say thanks to anyone who serves us.

A united people

We are a diverse people. Opinions and politics usually divide us more than bring us together. There is no shortage of criticism for public figures and our backdoor neighbors and everyone in between. People argue about anything and everything.

But on Sept. 11, 2001, people were kind to each other. They were still being kind on Sept. 12 and 13. Strangers wept with each other. People called to check on family members. In the chaos and aftermath a shock settled on the nation and we looked out for each other.

We are grateful for those kind and compassionate acts.

Continued safety

We also are grateful that there has not been another attack on American soil. We have enjoyed relative safety from outside forces. We take this safety for granted, especially when we see the unrest in many parts of the world.

These are turbulent times.

Our military forces, even some of our citizens in far reaches of the world, have paid a dear price for this safety.

Today we are grateful that for that sacrifice.