Editor: On Sept. 11, 2021, many in our nation paused to remember and reflect on that horrific day twenty years ago when almost 3,000 people were murdered in what was the deadliest terrorist attack in American history. However, in Lovettsville, the town I have called home for the past 20 years, One Family Gives, the philanthropic arm of One Family Brewing Company, chose 9/11 to host what was advertised as “The Freedom Celebration – Charity Concert.” The day-long event, which was a fundraiser to benefit “local Gold Star Families in Virginia,” ended with a fireworks display.
While I am grateful for the fundraising efforts of One Family to help Gold Star Families and I am also grateful that One Family has brought a Gold Star Families Memorial to Lovettsville, 9/11 is not the appropriate day to hold a celebration.
This is personal for me. On 9/11, 67 of my former colleagues working in the South Tower of the World Trade Center perished in the terrorist attack. And on Jan. 16, 2019, my nephew, a Green Beret in the U.S. Army, along with three other Americans, was killed in action in a suicide bombing in Syria.
My colleagues left behind families who mourn their loss. And my brother and his wife and their three other sons, along with my nephew’s wife and their four young children, became Gold Star Families the day my nephew was killed in action. We have mourned his loss every day since the day he was so brutally murdered.
Would we have a celebration with fireworks on Pearl Harbor Day? I think not. For the same reason, it is inappropriate to have such a celebration on 9/11. Why not have a Freedom Celebration on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, when we honor the fallen men and women who have served in the military? And if not then, there are many other days besides 9/11 when such a celebration would be more appropriate.
Holding a celebration on the anniversary of 9/11 is disrespectful to the families of all of those people, both civilians and first-responders, who lost their lives that day. 9/11 should be a day of remembrance and reflection, not a day of celebration and fireworks.
Maryanne Schultejans, Lovettsville