You say you’ll never forget September 11th, 2001. I’ve said it too. Seventeen years later though, how much do you about that day? How much does the next generation know about the day 2,996 people died in not one, but three attacks?
Today I overheard a conversation between two people who looked to be in their mid-teens. One was convinced that the 9-11 attacks only happened in New York. The other said, “No, there was another one in DC and I think one in Boston.”
Wow! We need to do better. The memory should not be allowed to fade until it is so opaque that it nearly doesn’t exist.
Time can be a salve but it by no means heals all wounds. When we visited the memorial, my husband pointed out a staircase to the kids. More accurately THE staircase. The one he walked on his way to work and on his way home every day for 7 years. Every year he tells the same stories about his friend Bob, who’s mortal remains, mingled with so many unidentified others, rest in the memorial.
Today friends of friends, New Yorkers who were there that day, will once again talk about still being able to taste the air filled with ash. A flight attendant friend told me a story last year about the day she held the grandchild of one of her former crewmates who fell in Shanksville and never had that chance. That was the day the memories deepened for her.
I am a veteran and Marine Corps mom, the Pentagon was our own. I am the daughter of a fire chief, sister of a cop, wife of a Special Agent who is native New Yorker and survivor of the 1993 WTC bombing. Forgetting for me, like many of us, is not possible.
Yet I hear memories fade all around me, in schools, on trains. In conversations between teenagers. In the absence news reports who. So much of our dialog lives in the now and pays little heed to our history.
On that day, in the miasma of collapsed buildings, burning jet fuel, and dying dreams, some good arose. The best of us shown through as a people banded together by collective pain and a will to comfort each other.
It is incumbent upon us to never forget. To ensure that not only will the rest of us remember but that we again strive to find the best in one another. It should not take a national tragedy for us to be good to others. Do it in memory of those who don’t have the choice.