Monday, September 11, 2017 marked the 16th anniversary of one of the deadliest terrorist attacks in United States history. Over a decade and a half ago, thousands of citizens were murdered by members of the radical Islamic terrorist group Al-Qaeda.
People I’ve spoken to in my parents’ generation remember the day vividly. They remember where they were, when it happened, and their fear and uncertainty for the future. The shock of the event permanently affixing every detail of that infamous day in their memory.
With each year that passes, the visceral feelings cool. Time moves us further and further from that tragic day. Those just a few years younger than I, born after 9/11, will be learning about the event from a history book soon, if not already. People my age don’t carry the same horrible memory, placing us in an odd spot.
Even though I and those younger than me weren’t cognizant on 9/11, it has had a lasting impact on our lives. It is one of the most significant events to occur in American history, let alone our lifetime. It is worthy of remembrance as if we were there. I hope the lessons will not soon be forgotten by myself, my peers, or those who will come after.
Born in 1998, at the time I was only 3 years old. I know what happened from the videos, the oral recounts, and the heart-wrenching phone call recordings. Even though I feel as if I know what happened, without the physical memory of this day, I feel like I will always be missing a piece of my understanding.
Not having a physical memory of 9/11, but still honoring its gravity and importance to our society, here’s how I choose to remember the 9/11.
- Remembering to thank first responders, firefighters, police members, and military: Without this key group of public servants, our nation would never be safe. These people lay it on the line every day to defend our freedoms, just as they did on 9/11. Sometimes, defending these freedoms costs them their lives. They have earned the highest praise we can offer.
- Remembering why we’re lucky to live in America: Tragedies such as 9/11 remind us that rarely does the average American have to worry about hunger, death, or foreign threat in our everyday lives. In some countries, it is a daily norm. Events like 9/11 are thankfully few and far between for our society. We should be thankful for that, as it is not a luxury afforded to the rest of the world.
- Keeping the lessons alive for future generations: As time passes and generations come and go, the feelings of tragedy will be lost to history. But what we learn from 9/11, never should. It’s not needed now, but when future generations begin questioning the importance of this event, We should remind them of its pivotal role in our history, and as a galvanizing force of our values.