Every morning I wake up and check my schedule for the day. As has happened once a year, every year for the past 12 years, on this particular morning, there was a kick in the gut when I saw the date. September 11.

I know I’m not alone. I know that the rest of America feels that kick too. And many of us see the replay in our minds—either from television or, if you lived in NY or DC at the time, the actual sights, sounds and smells of the day and its aftermath.

So I came into the office and said, we should observe this day somehow. We should never forget. But my office is AILA—the American IMMIGRATION Lawyers Association. One of the things we’ve learned in the past 12 years is that, despite the way that 9/11 was exploited for anti-immigration purposes, curtailing immigration is not the way to stop further attacks. So, perhaps AILA should not observe this day, since our speaking up might somehow imply that 9/11 was related to immigration?

But then, I thought, wait. We are the AMERICAN Immigration Lawyers Association. 9/11 is something that happened to America. To citizens, permanent residents, temporary residents, visitors, and aspiring citizens. We share this experience. We share the grief for those we lost. We share the pride in the first responders who went toward the danger, and lift up as heroes those who lost their lives as a result.

So, today, AILA salutes the heroes of 9/11, and grieves for those we lost. We stand with the rest of America to express our pride as Americans and our solidarity with all who love this country. Let us re-commit to be worthy of them all.