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County honors terror victims

"Grim-faced but determined, the Kitsap County commissioners unanimously declared a day of mourning in remembrance of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on U.S. soil and the rescue workers who consequently risked their lives to save others.In doing so, they joined thousands of other county leaders across the country and other National Association of Counties (NACO) members.The day after two commercial airliners crashed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center while another knifed through the Pentagon and a fourth plummeted into a field just south of Pittsburgh, NACO president Javier Gonzales issued a frantic letter to member counties across the nation.These horrific events have affected all Americans, but it is important to carry on with the regular activities of our lives, wrote Gonzales. Terrorism cannot be allowed to break the spirit of the American people and the best way to show these cowards that they have truly failed is for the people of the U.S. and their counties to stand tall and proud.NACO members, including Kitsap County heeded that call and crafted a declaration, which was presented during the county commissioner meeting on Monday morning.Board chairwoman Chris Endresen said the commissioners and the county were more than willing to adopt a day of mourning and remembrance.We would have done this on our own anyway, but we certainly want to join our colleagues, she said. We want to join them by saying we should try to carry on with the regular activity of our lives.County government and many businesses across Kitsap did as much in practice last week by keeping the courthouse open for business. Yet while the county insisted government business carry on, employees mourned the victims of the attacks and its affect on Americans.That was all too natural.Days later, county officials and employees started wearing their hearts on their sleeves. They were showing up to work dressed in red, white and blue and donning similarly colored ribbons on their jackets and blouses.While Monday's proclamation memorializes the fallen and reveres rescue workers, it's also seen as a symbol of resolve.We need to turn our anger into strength and the American people have a wonderful way of doing that, said County Commissioner Jan Angel.County Commissioner Tim Botkin agreed, saying the country is in a fight against terrorism for a long time.We're in this for the long haul, he said. Endresen said concerned Kitsap residents who want to help, should contact their local blood bank and set up an appointment to donate.We should also support our military and reservists who could be called up, she said. We should also perform random acts of kindness so the anger we feel doesn't turn into hate.The county commissioners also resolved to support President George Bush as he works with his national security team to defend against additional attacks and find the perpetrators and bring them to justice.All those attending the county commissioners meeting at the courthouse Monday morning also participated in a moment of silence after Endresen led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance. "

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