Four Local 5 Boilermakers (seated right) head home on the Staten Island ferry after helping clear debris caused by the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York. Whenever the nation has called, Boilermakers have answered. (Photo by Ruth Fremson/The New York Times.)

Let us never forget.

On a fateful day 20 years ago, terrorists shocked our nation by committing unimaginable horrors that would reverberate in unimaginable pain.

On that same fateful day 20 years ago, our stunned nation pulled together. Our differences—our political affiliations, economic standings, ages, genders, religions and creeds—suddenly sidelined as we worked together to help one another through the literal and figurative rubble and smoke of that awful day.

We worked together to process what was unfolding before us. To communicate the safety of loved ones. To harbor those stranded in travel. To comfort one another and protect our children. To organize supplies, assistance and support for survivors and weary first responders. To grieve.

20 years ago, we rose as a nation, united against those who sought to break us. And we took heart as our neighbors in Canada and around the world began rising with us. As organizations raised funds and pooled finances, equipment and human resources. As wave after wave of volunteers from fire departments, police squads, power companies, churches, trade unions and more, worldwide, took turns at Ground Zero, month after month to search, sort, and clean. To relieve the exhausted volunteers who had gone before them.

20 years ago, Boilermakers were among the volunteers who answered the call to help—brothers and sisters helping brothers and sisters in need. Those who went to Ground Zero or provided support in other ways didn’t do so for accolades or any kind of recognition. They did it, as Boilermakers do, because there was a job to be done and people who needed help.

As we look back to that day, and the weeks that followed, let us never forget.

Let us never forget how quickly a blue-sky September day turned in an instant to pitch darkness.

But let us also never forget how we rose together, one nation united.

A world united. Brothers and sisters united.