As we recently considered the upcoming anniversary of Sept. 11 in our newsroom, several of us shared where we were on that day. Those somber reflections led to the comment that Sept. 11, the assassination of John F. Kennedy and Neil Armstrong’s first step on the moon, were defining moments for our nation, and many have vivid memories recalling where we were at those times.

When President Kennedy was assassinated, I was a ninth grade student at Dillingham Junior School. When America achieved its first lunar landing, I was in Glasgow, Scotland, as part of a student exchange program while attending Austin College. And, while watching the horrors of Sept. 11 unfold, I was in a classroom teaching English at Gunter High School.

Knowing where we were appears to be consistently true for those who experienced any, or all, of those landmark events. Remembering is important, for it can help us return to those moments for reflection, in both tragedy and triumph, and inspiration.

However, in recalling those moments and where we were, may we also remember who were were, and who we are. May we recognize that there are far more things in life that unite us than divide us. The recent tragedy of Hurricane Harvey and the massive response in its wake is a stirring reminder of that.

In spite of past and varied mistakes in our nation’s history, and in the midst of overheated rhetoric and sometimes violent and destructive acts, let us never forget that we are a great nation — at its best when standing united. And, may we always remember that we are called by our creator to love one another. The courageous and sacrificial acts that we honor tomorrow reveal our nation’s ability to unite, and yes, even to love one another.

So, as we remember Sept. 11, and as we gather to honor those lost lives, may we also be reminded of who we are as a nation today. We have been richly blessed, and from those blessings the collective good we are so capable of is greatly needed. There is no doubt that we have boundless capacity for achievement as Neil Armstrong and his cohorts proved. And, we have also shown that we have incredible strength and resilience in our times of tragedy, as we have learned time and again.

From our moments of tragedy, and triumph, we can truly move forward only if we go together. Every life that was lost on Sept. 11 beckons us to unity. And, yes, when Neil Armstrong spoke those stirring words from the surface of the moon, “One small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind,” he was talking about us.

Happy birthday Sunday to Annie Brown, Anthony Futrell, Angela Henson, Rondonia Pleasant, Erica Hayden, Vernon Harlan, Jerome Holland and Trenia Guess, all of Sherman; Delores Hardcastle of Denison; Bazaar Wheatfall of Fort Worth; and Don Jackson of College Station.

Happy anniversary Sunday to Mike and Linda Tarzis of Sherman, 34 years.

Happy birthday Monday to Melissa McCammack and Clifford Cole, both of Denison; Bill Roberts, Robert Franklin, Pam Roy and Toiya Parker, all of Sherman; Charla Dodson of Bonham; and Cora Sutton of Anna.

Happy anniversary to Monday Lukus and Kristy Pambou of Allen, 2 years.