Sept. 11, 2001. As an American, this date should turn your face somber and automatically make your stomach cringe. Our country was violated that day. It left us all shocked from the horror. Eleven years later, I ask the question, what does it mean to you today?
As a current college student, when 9/11 occurred, you were most likely somewhere between the age of six to 10 years old. Thinking back, I remember little things about that day. I remember feeling sad, strictly because everyone around me felt sad. I also remember knowing that something horrible had happened: something that I was afraid of. But, as a seven-year-old, I honestly did not truly understand what was going on. I could not relate to the horror in the same way as those who were older than I. I’m sure that a majority of you experienced 9/11 in a similar way.
Media coverage was no issue the day the towers fell. Citizens across the country were kept informed by the minute. Modern technology helped keep the story alive for not only that day, but for many years to follow. Yearly, there were news stories published, families of the deceased interviewed on television, and memorials erected in honor of the many 9/11 heroes.
But it seemed as though people were beginning to forget. I’m sure the families of those affected by this tragedy will always remember, as much as some might like to forget. But, as time passed, it seemed as though more and more Americans stopped bringing their flag down to half mast, stopped bowing their heads for a moment of silence, and some simply did not remember the significance of the day, when they woke up in the morning.
As our generation becomes young adults, I can only wonder when 9/11 will permanently make the transition from a memory that haunts the citizens of America, to just a tragedy of America’s past taught to the youth from a history book. I realize that this is the way that the world works. We obviously do not appreciate the significance of D-Day or the attack on Pearl Harbor in the same way as our grandparents do. Yet, the thought of 9/11 becoming just another horrible day in history, deeply saddens me. When the towers fell that day, they left an imprint on America and you may not know it, but they left an imprint on you.
I’m not going to instruct you to keep the memory of the towers falling and leaving us in despair alive. Because, I’m sure a majority of Americans would give anything to forget. What I will say, is hold on to the memory of the heroes of that day, rising to the occasion, and truly representing the strength of America.
Remember, that even though we were young, we will forever be a piece of American history, due to the fact that we were able to watch this all unfold. When Sept. 11 arrives each year, I believe that our generation owes it to all of the men and women who passed away on this day, not only to keep the memory of American resilience going, but to pass it on.