Did you realize that this last Wednesday, Sept. 11, was Patriot Day? If you didn’t then you aren’t alone. Even though this date has been set aside as Patriot Day since 2002, it’s just not one of those days that many people think about as a holiday. That’s probably because it’s not a joyous day of celebration like Independence Day but rather a somber day of remembrance and commemoration.

It’s not that people don’t remember Sept. 11, but rather, I just don’t think people grasp that it has actually been designated as a national day of remembrance. But, things are changing as more and more groups are planning activities around that date. And, it’s not too late to participate in that commemoration.

This Saturday, the second annual inaugural Patriot Day parade is going to be held in Neosho. Sponsored jointly by the Neosho Exchange Club, the Neosho Area Chamber of Commerce and the City of Neosho, the parade is meant to honor our veterans, current military members, and our emergency services personnel (fire, law enforcement, ambulance, EMTs, emergency management workers and others). The parade will start at 10 a.m. and will follow the same route as the Neosho Christmas parade.  

You notice I said that it was the second annual inaugural parade and you are probably wondering how can that be? Well, last year we had a great parade lined up when Mother Nature decided to bring forth rain on that day. Even with rain pouring down we still had several entries show up ready to participate.

This year we already have a good line-up for the event and will continue to accept entries the day of the parade. But, what we really need is community support. This is your opportunity to say thank you to the people who provide services so that we can be safe and we need to let them know that we appreciate their sacrifices.  

I can hardly believe that it has been 12 years since the day our world was ripped apart by terrorists. I’m sure that you remember just exactly where you were and what you were doing when you heard the news. I remember hearing that a plane had crashed into one of the towers and initially they thought that it was just a tragic accident. Then came the chilling news that it was no accident but rather an act of cowardly terrorism.  

I also remember the coming together of this nation unified by a common threat and the resolve that we would not let the terrorists succeed. In the ensuing years our lives have changed dramatically. As a nation we are much more cautious and more aware of our vulnerability but we are still as resolved to ensure that we never bow down to terrorists.

But, I do worry about some of the attitudes that have emerged over the last 12 years. In some people’s eyes, political correctness should triumph over good old common sense. A few months back a politician complained that an ad showing the face of terrorism was racist because most of them were of Arab descent.

I know that sometimes profiling is used for the wrong reasons but give me a break. If bald headed, middle-aged white males were perpetrating acts of terror then I would expect to be singled out for closer scrutiny. Conversely, when you look at who was responsible for Sept. 11, 2001, doesn’t it make sense to have a heightened level of awareness for certain groups in certain situations? That just makes sense.

I don’t think that most Americans fully grasp just how committed terrorists are in spreading their reign of terror. In our society we want instant answers and instant solutions and most people’s idea of long-range planning doesn’t exceed six to 12 months. In the case of these terrorists, they are willing to wait for years to strike. They bide their time and strike when we least expect it.

The world we live in has changed dramatically since 9/11/2001. While the terrorists haven’t “won,” they have succeeded in altering and changing our world. I don’t think that we can deny that the threat of terrorism is always going to be with us but we, as a nation, should always remember that “united we stand, divided we fall.” Always remember and never forget.

Kevin Wilson writes a weekly column for the Daily News.