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It seems every year that the events of Sept. 11, 2001, get more distant, not only in the pages of the calendar but, seemingly, in the minds of many Americans. That's a mixed blessing, we suppose. People feel more secure, less afraid.

But there's much worth in remembering, and honoring, those hours seven years ago, when Americans were gripped not only by the horrific images on our television screens, but also by a common bond that stretched from New York, Washington, D.C., and Shanksville, Pa.

These days, our attentions are pulled in many different directions, but lest we feel the events of that day are forgotten, we're reminded that several local entities are remembering 9/11 this week, and marking it with services, events or commemorations as tributes to what is now known as Patriots Day.

On Monday, the Sykesville Town Council passed a resolution encouraging residents to fly the flag on Sept. 11 as a direct remembrance of the day.

Elsewhere, tributes take on a somewhat lighter and more festive approach. At Bon Secours in Marriottsville, staff will host a cookout honoring local police, fire and rescue personnel (who are admitted free). In addition, several Carroll County senior centers have at least short programs or special musical presentations scheduled to mark Patriots Day.

At Shiloh Middle School, the commemoration is clearly on the lighter side, but with a noble purpose. For a $1 fee, students on Friday will be permitted to wear "Hats For Heroes" to commemorate the heroes of 9/11. All the money collected will be donated to the FDNY Rescue No. 1 Family Fund and also the Firefighter Stephen Siller Foundation.

It's heartening to see local entities spending time and effort to remember 9/11. We'll also make a suggestion; one that recalls the days immediately following the terror attacks -- giving blood.

In the days and hours following Sept. 11, 2001, blood drives brought people out in droves to roll up their sleeves and contribute in the only way they knew how.

Seven years later, the need for blood to satisfy hospital needs is constant, and it strikes us that along with Patriots Day, Sept. 11 can be a national day to give blood.

For those so inclined, the following are the blood drives being held in Carroll County later this week.

There are others nearby and on other days. To find one, or to register for any of these, call the Red Cross at 1-800-GIVE LIFE or go to my-redcross.org.

*Thursday, Sept. 11, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Black & Decker Corporation, 626 Hanover Pike, Hampstead.

*Friday, Sept. 12, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., North Carroll High School, 3801 Hampstead-Mexico Road, Hampstead.

*Saturday, Sept. 13, 6:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., St. Joseph Catholic Church, 915 Liberty Road, Sykesville.


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