After 38 years of marriage, my wife and I have reached the stage where we don’t give each other Christmas gifts.

If we want something, provided it’s not a big-ticket item, we go out and buy it. There’s no need to wait for Dec. 25 if we need/want something now.

But there are two gifts I would like. One is pretty big, the other pretty small:


In 22 months, America will mark the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

I’m hoping a major occasion is planned locally for the event that has thus far shaped the course of the 21st century.

Certainly, we should mark that day to pay respect to victims of the brazen attacks, especially the four innocent local residents whose lives were stolen that day in New York.

And we certainly should salute the young men and women who volunteered to battle terrorists in faraway lands, sacrificing much for little reward. Many of them — it’s always too many of them — made the ultimate sacrifice and will never return.

But I’d really want an occasion in hopes that maybe, somehow, we can recapture the spirit that existed right after 9/11.

Susan McGinty of Foxboro, who lost her husband Michael in the World Trade Center attacks, had this to say on the 10th anniversary of 9/11: “It’s important that we remember what happened on Sept. 11 because of what happened on Sept. 12. We all came together as a country. The people who attacked us hadn’t expected that. They thought they’d split us apart. They hurt us, but they didn’t win. In fact, they lost in a very big way.”

Remember those post-9/11 days? We hung flags from our homes, gave blood and prayed at church services. Thousands enlisted in the military.

Heck, even Democrats and Republicans held hands on the steps of the Capitol and sang, “God Bless America.”

All of that — especially the latter item — seems unimaginable now.

This area and all of America needs to remember who our enemies are.

They are NOT fellow Americans.

A day, a week even, is needed to remember the horror of Sept. 11, 2001, when not only our people and our landmarks but our culture and values were attacked.

In reality, what divides as a nation now is minimal compared to the hatred that drove those misguided savages who attacked us that day.

We as a community and a country need to remember that.

Maybe it will even help heal America.


My wife and I took the time recently to walk Highland Park, the bankrupt Highland Country Club that the City of Attleboro purchased more than a year ago.

I was certainly familiar with the terrain, having walked the 90-plus acres many times as a 10-year Highland member. It’s sad to see the overgrown fairways, the gouged bunkers and, especially, the weed-ridden greens, once the best in the Attleboro area.

But I know it’s never coming back.

Highland may have been a private country club — one of the oldest in Massachusetts, incorporated in 1901 — but it was very much a part of public life of the Attleboro area for 117 years.

How many weddings, baptism celebrations, Cub Scout banquets, piano recitals, high school reunions, business breakfasts and funeral collations were held there? If you lived in this area for very long, you know doubt attended many events there.

Highland’s history as a center of celebrations needs to be remembered.

A small plaque at the park’s entrance would serve that purpose.

MIKE KIRBY, a Sun Chronicle columnist, can be reached at

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