September 11 — Patriot Day — is a somber reminder of the attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and Flight 93, which crashed in Pennsylvania. It's also a reminder of the greatness of our nation, as demonstrated by the ways so many first responders, firemen, police, and other volunteers came together to save lives, clear away rubble, and rebuild. It reminds us of all that we have in common, as Americans, in the fight against terror. It reminds us of the many lives that members of our military have sacrificed in this fight. 

For us at IWF, today is also a reminder of a personal loss: IWF founder Barbara Olson was killed in the attack on the Pentagon. As R. Gaull Silberman said, "Barbara was the embodiment of why we started IWF: to give voice to independent, articulate, knowledgeable women who were secure in their femininity and who had the courage to challenge conventional wisdom and bring common sense to bear on issues of importance to women and to men. We sought to change the terms of the debate, and nobody was better at it than Barbara." 

Barbara was just 45 years old. Her life — filled with work as a lawyer, as an official in the Reagan Justice department and author, and as political commentator and policy advocate — was far too short. But we like to believe that her legacy lives on today through our work at Independent Women's Forum. Rest in Peace, Barbara Olson, and all those other lives tragically lost in the September 11, 2001 attacks.