Contact: By Randy Forbes
Looking Back on September 11, 2001
Washington, D.C., Sep 11, 2011 -
It is ten years later. Most of us remember where we were. We remember who we were with. We remember the phone calls we made, desparate to hear the sounds of our loved ones’ voices, to know they were ok. We remember the images of the twin towers crashing to the ground, the thick, gray ash that covered the New York City streets, the papers that littered the sidewalks, and the panic that followed. We remember the eery, weighty silence that swept the country in the days that followed. The images are burned into our minds.
Over the course of ten years since September 11, 2001, our nation has collectively gone through stages of grief: shock and denial that such a horrific act could have occurred. Anger at those who sought to take the lives of thousands of innocent people. Deep sadness over the senseless loss of lives and reflection as we try desperately to understand.
The final stage of grief is acceptance. While we have come to accept that this tragedy happened, we are resolved to never forget. As we enter a second decade of a post-9/11 nation, we face the reality that those Americans entering college this year were only eight years old when the attacks happened; old enough to know that something terrible had occurred, but probably too young to fully understand the gravity of the situation. Our nation’s high school freshmen very likely do not have any first-hand memories of that day.
It is natural to fear that, with each decade, our nation will forget a little more. Many worry that our younger generations will never grasp the sense of terror, the fear, and the vulnerability we felt that day as a nation – that they will never truly understand how it changed our nation forever.
But September 11th is not just a memory. It is a reminder.
It is a reminder of community. No matter the political, ideological, religious, or socioeconomic differences, America relies on the strength of her communities in great times of national need. Community is what helps us to prevail over tragedy.
It is a reminder of how vital our security, defense and law enforcement agencies are to our nation. They are in place to keep us safe. Without them we are vulnerable, and we cannot afford to hollow out our defense and national security structure. We must be vigilant to invest in resources and systems to protect our nation from those who would seek to destroy it.
It is a reminder that prayer has sustained our nation. Victims of the attacks prayed for help; family members prayed to be reunited with loved ones; first-responders prayed for strength and wisdom as they risked their lives; millions of Americans asked God for comfort, protection, and peace. Today, ten years later, Americans will join in pray again as individuals gather in churches, neighborhoods and with families to remember those who lost their lives that day.
It is a reminder that there are always those who are willing to give their all for others. There are men and women on the front lines and working behind the scenes to continue to defend America and to keep us safe. They are willing to go into a burning building or take down a hijacked plane in an act of selflessness. It is on their backs that we are able to stand.We do not have to have first-hand memories to be reminded of something. But we do need to have someone tell us. As another decade passes, may the anniversary of September 11th be more than a memory. May it be a reminder. May those of us who experienced the day first-hand tell our stories to our youngest citizens. Make we make it a teachable moment for our nation. May we be reminded that our freedoms are precious and take pride in America as the home of the brave and the land of the free.