September 11, 2001 is a day that is etched into the memory of our souls. Nary an American forgets what they were doing when they learned about the tragedy that fell upon New York City, Washington, DC, and Shanksville, PA. The darkness we felt that day is as deep a color as any red, white, or blue on an American Flag.

Yet that darkness has not relented. As the former late-night host Jon Stewart points out, there are so many police, firefighters, EMTs, and other first-responders who gave their everything  – and lived – who are suffering from neglect. Forgotten by their federal and local governments, bodies who could help have instead sat upon their hands and held their victimhood in a vacuum.

But from darkness, light is emerging. As the New York Post reports, there are 16 “legacy graduates” of the Fire Department of New York’s 2019 class whose parents were the police, firefighters, and EMT men and women who lost their lives saving people, being heroes. I couldn’t imagine a better way to honor a fallen family member than to pick up where they left off.

Which reminds me: these “legacy graduates” are among a new set of voters for this upcoming election. The 2019 General Election will mark the first time ever that American voters were born after that tragic day, the first of a new generation. They have stood and Pledged Allegiance to the Flag more than 2,000 times, and hopefully each time they do, they will pick up where Americans have always left off. It is my hope that when they vote, it is a pledge made to end the darkness and bring forth more light.

God knows on days like today, we need to be reminded of that. But most of all, we are reminded that we can never lose sight of hope.

Thanks to Alissa Packer for Camp Hill Borough Council for photo rights.