The 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, is this Saturday. It seems surreal, but 20 years have gone by so quickly.

Like many of you, I remember where I was and what I was doing when the news broke that a plane had struck one of the World Trade Center Towers in Lower Manhattan. At first, a small plane was thought to be responsible. Perhaps something had happened to the pilot to cause him to crash.

That is, until a second plane hit the other tower. Before long, the enormity of what was happening became clear: America was under attack.

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I was enjoying a beautiful Tuesday morning off from work. A quick workout at home was to be followed by a walk and then some errands. Then the phone rang. My wife suggested I might want to turn on the television. There was breaking news from New York.

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The mood of the nation was somber and full of fear. That fear quickly turned to rage, and lines formed at recruiting centers where men and women signed up to avenge the deaths of more than 3,000 fellow Americans. For a brief moment in time, we united with a commonality of purpose and a promise to never forget.

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For weeks, New Bedford residents lined busy streets and gathered in parks in a show of unity. We waved American flags and sang patriotic songs. We vowed revenge.

Some would argue that we have forgotten and that the spirit of unity dispersed all too quickly. They say our mission to avenge the planners of 9/11 morphed into something that it was never intended to be and cost the nation too much in treasure and human lives.

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New Bedford will mark the 20th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks on Saturday morning at City Hall Square. The New Bedford Fire Department will display a large American flag from a ladder truck as part of the observance. All area residents are encouraged to attend the ceremony, scheduled to begin at 10 a.m.

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I wonder how many will show up at City Hall and how many will have more important things to do with their Saturday morning? Just remember, when he forget our history, we are bound to repeat our mistakes.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at barry@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

NEVER FORGET: Images from 9/11 and the days after