It’s never easy to talk about what happened on September 11th, 2001, and unfortunately that can sometimes make it difficult to come together to observe Patriot Day.We all have a natural inclination to shy away from sad memories and heartache. It hurts. It makes us mad. It makes us scared. We’d all rather be happy, and being happy is a lot easier when we push these sorrowful thoughts from our minds.But, here’s the thing: This is Patriot Day and National Day of Service and Remembrance. That’s the full name of this day of observance, and rightly so, because there are two sides to every coin.RemembranceYes, there is the tragedy. And, we can never forget that. Most of us reading this will probably never forget what we were doing on that day in 2001. It was a day that changed this country forever and something that powerful deserves a place of prominence in our collective memory.We are obliged to mourn the people we lost and support their loved ones with our thoughts and our hearts. It’s a hard thing, but it’s a responsibility we need to take seriously as a society; as a nation.ServiceThis, on the other hand, is something we can and should celebrate. The mettle of any person – of any country – is only truly tested in tragedy. It’s easy to be strong when we’re at our best. Together, we faced a diabolical attack on our sovereignty, our psyches and our sense of nation, but we faced our fears head on and continue to do so today.We laud the emergency responders, the military and law enforcement for their heroism on 9/11 and beyond, which is good, but we must not forget the broader strength of our community. We must not forget the so-called “regular” people who, time and again, ran back into the smoke and the chaos to help those they knew only as fellow citizens.UnityThis is a triumph worth celebrating. Every day, we hear on the news about how the U.S. is fractured; how technology, money and divisive politics are eroding our sense of nationalism. But, when the chips are down Americans show up – we never quit and we never forget.Today, we lower our flags to half-staff and we solemnly observe a moment of silence, but we do it with hope in our hearts because we stand united.