Fourteen years ago, on Sept. 11, 2001, the nation watched in horror as a massive terrorist attack was launched against the United States. For those who are old enough to remember, it seems like yesterday. For those who lost loved ones, the reminders are there every day. Commemorating 9/11 is difficult because it stirs up painful memories. However,
Fourteen years ago, on Sept. 11, 2001, the nation watched in horror as a massive terrorist attack was launched against the United States. For those who are old enough to remember, it seems like yesterday. For those who lost loved ones, the reminders are there every day.
Commemorating 9/11 is difficult because it stirs up painful memories. However, there are proud moments that sparked patriotism and camaraderie. Most of all, two very important debts are owed to those who perished and those who sacrificed so much to help heal our nation. The first is to never forget what happened that day. The second is to honor their memory by learning from this tragedy.
Although the events are fresh in the minds of many, an entire generation of children, some of whom are already in high school, were not even born at that time. Even those of college age are too young to remember or to be profoundly affected. Just as our elders before us shared their memories of the Vietnam War, the Korean War and World War II, we owe it to the younger generation to talk freely and openly about the events of Sept. 11. Most notably, how Americans came together that day to be heroes, and how, for the first time in a long time, our nation was not divided, but united for one another.
The lessons we learned from 9/11 are also significant because they still apply today and will for years and generations to come. While some are directly related to the events that happened, some are the same “golden rules” we were taught as children.
It can happen here.
No place is immune to terrorism. There are foreign lands that experience bombings and terrorist activities every day. Now terrorism happens on U.S. soil and it’s become part of our lives. We should be more sensitive to what is happening to people in war-torn nations while being mindful that it can, and most likely will, happen here again.
When the going gets tough, Americans come together.
There are so many untold stories of 9/11. All Americans came together that day to do extraordinary acts for one another. Tragedy should not dictate that for us. It should be part of everyday American life.
Some gave all.
Todd Beamer and the other passengers of United Airlines Flight 93 could have simply panicked knowing their fate was doomed. Instead they chose to save the lives of those in the White House who could have perished had the terrorists plan gone through. These were average Americans who became remarkable heroes. We should never forget what they did to save lives in the wake of their own tragedy. We should all act so selflessly in such a situation.
Thank the everyday hero.
We saw firsthand the sacrifices that people make in their jobs every day. These everyday heroes include police, firefighters, military personnel, paramedics, doctors, nurses and volunteers. While everyone else is running away from catastrophe, these men and women run toward it. They should be thanked for their service to society every day.
Don’t leave words unspoken
Calls came from the World Trade Center and the planes to loved ones across the globe. Many calls never went through. Many never got to say one last goodbye. Make sure your loved ones know how you feel before you part ways. Don’t walk away angry. Don’t leave words unsaid. Don’t live with regrets.
Don’t let the terrorists win.
Don’t let fear dictate your decisions. If we hide from life because of fear of terrorist attacks, we aren’t living. Don’t give up the chance to see life-changing events for fear of terrorism. This gives the terrorists victory.
Don’t judge a book by its cover.
To judge all Muslims by the actions of a few would be the same as judging all Christians by the actions of David Koresh and the Branch Davidians in Waco. A burka may trigger the memory of what happened on Sept. 11, but under that robe beats the heart of another human being.
The most important thing Americans can do every day is live like we did during those days following the attack. Not living in fear, but uniting as one, helping our fellow Americans and standing together as one nation. Especially now, as enter into another divisive election season, it is more important than ever that Americans take the time to remember what happened on Sept. 11, and what was learned.
By Susan Neuhalfen