Never Forget

9-11-attackI was 12 years old when my country experienced the worst attack in its history.  So, not very old, but old enough that I still remember it. I was at home (my mom was homeschooling my brother and I that year) working on math problems, when a friend called and told us to turn on the television.  The first plane had already struck but by the time we turned on the news, I watched the second plane strike on live TV.  As a young child, I watched people–real people, not hollywood characters–die before my eyes.  I will never forget Peter Jennings’ voice relating each fact and revealing the latest announcements.  I will never forget the stark contrast of billowing black smoke against a cloudless blue sky.  I will never forget the screaming, the crying, the swearing, the blood. For several years after, I watched anniversary coverages that highlighted the heroic acts made on that day and was inspired.  Today, I can pick up a history book, point to that section and say, “I remember when that happened.”  I can’t believe 8 years have past!

Now I’m 20. I have watched my beloved country hurt and heal.  I’ve watched the aftermath of 9/11 continue on to this day.  As American citizens, we’re reminded every time we go through security before boarding a plane, every time the news anchor reads off another war casualty, every time we visit a national tourist attraction.  We have scores of families growing up without moms, dads, sisters, brothers, grandparents, aunts and uncles.  That hole will remain for the next several generations.  not forget 911

We’ve also had countless struggles surrounding 9/11 that were of our own making:  conspiracy and cover-up theories, the debates on whether the 9/11 movie was too soon and tactless, a long and tiring two-front war that continues to rage and the vast protests surrounding it…Most importantly, however, we’re living with the scary realization that the man responsible for attacking us is, as far as the public knows, still alive and at-large.            

As I pondered these things today, my heart broke.  We always discuss how strong America is and how inspiring she acted on 9/11.  We should discuss this because it is true.  It is also true that we have prevented such an attack from occurring again, despite the near certainty that there were more plots.  Yet even with the assurance of that knowledge and the founding of Homeland Security, I still felt fear today.  And it had nothing to do with Islamic Extremist Terrorists.  We have experience in dealing with enemies.  What I can’t figure out is just how we Americans can protect our country from ourselves. 

911 carry manWho will inspire our children to be moral and upstanding citizens of character?  Who will clean up our media so it no longer trash that glorifies violence?  Who will put an end to materialism? Who will remind us that “politically correct” is far from correct? Who will teach us to stop spending more money than we have?  Who will show us the difference between love and lust? Or between wisdom and knowledge?  Who will remind us that “sacrifice” is something we should do daily?  Its a gift we need to give to the people we love!  These are lessons and priorities that I have learned and that I am reminded of every September 11. 

Glenn Beck has started a program called “The 9/12 Project.”  You don’t have to approve of Glenn Beck to realize that he has something great going on here.  The 9/12 mission statement says this:

This is a non-political movement. The 9-12 Project is designed to bring us all back to the place we were on September 12, 2001. The day after America was attacked we were not obsessed with Red States, Blue States or political parties. We were united as Americans, standing together to protect the greatest nation ever created.

That same feeling – that commitment to country is what we are hoping to foster with this idea. We want to get everyone thinking like it is September 12th, 2001 again.

9/11 taught us a lot about coming together.  9/12 was a day where you were proud to claim you were an American.  Can you say the same today?  I’m not involved in any way with the 9/12 project, but tomorrow (on 9/12/09) I will talk about the values America used to stand for and whether or not I have seen them at work lately. September 11 was a horrible day that I wish never would have happened.  But it has served as a constant reminder to us.  Each year citizens shout out “Never Forget.”  Just what is it we are refusing to forget?  I think those words are far deeper–and stand for much more–than any of us really realize.

911 lights


6 Responses

  1. “Who will inspire our children to be moral and upstanding citizens of character? Who will clean up our media so it no longer trash that glorifies violence? Who will put an end to materialism? Who will remind us that “politically correct” is far from correct? Who will teach us to stop spending more money than we have? Who will show us the difference between love and lust? Or between wisdom and knowledge? Who will remind us that “sacrifice” is something we should do daily?”

    Answer- You! You are the hope for the next generation. You hold the promise of a new day in your hands. You stand against the demoralization of America.

    Our hope is in You and those of your generation that hold to the ideals and morals that unite instead of divide.

    I wish my generation had done more, and maybe there is still time for us to change things but I fear that it will be on your shoulders to do what we were unable to accomplish.

  2. Thanks Shawn, but I’m not convinced that my generation will do any more than yours. We are the generation of instant gratification. But we’ll see.


  3. wowowowow how old are you now?

  4. i turned 4 the day of nine eleven i am thirteen now and still remember everything i saw on TV and thought it was horrible

  5. I remember having to leave day-care because of it and i was 6 and a half years old….. What a horrible day!!!!!!

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