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Honor the Sept. 11 victims by casting a ballot Tuesday

September 11, 2006

On the fifth anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, it is worth reflecting on the changes - good and bad - that have taken place.

Five years ago, Americans found that their nation was unprepared for this new type of war, that security was so lax that terrorists could bring sharp objects on board an airliner and that the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center hadn't been the wake-up call it should have been.

But after the attacks, America responded, with many coming to the Ground Zero site in New York City as volunteers. Blood banks were overwhelmed as citizens responded to the perceived need.

Closer to home, a group of Washington County citizens became concerned that because the terrorists were Muslims, local people might get the impression that all Muslims were terrorists.

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They formed the Interfaith Coalition of Washington County, which has held a series of events in which those of different faiths can meet and discuss how their beliefs differ.

Hopefully, participants have come to realize that in their beliefs in a God and a responsibility to help their fellow human beings, they are more alike than they are different.

And speaking of helping one's fellow citizens, tomorrow a group of people who have volunteered to stand for election will find out whether their candidacies will succeed.

It would be worse than shameful if those who are registered to vote don't go to the polls.

No one can argue they don't have enough information. The Herald-Mail, along with its partners - Hagerstown Community College, the League of Women Voters and Antietam Cable TV - put together two one-hour televised forums covering many local races on Aug. 16 and 17.

Did you miss them? You're in luck. They're being rebroadcast, back to back, on Cable Channel 19, tonight at 7 p.m.

Not convenient? Download the audio at www.antpod.com.

Last year, Iraqis voted in a free election for the first time in 50 years. Millions did so despite threats of violence from insurgents who promised to kill voters. To prevent voters from casting more than one ballot, each had to dip a finger in ink. Many proudly displayed their ink-stained fingers.

In Washington County, election officials give out stickers. Please vote, then wear your sticker as a proud American who has the right to vote.

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