On September 11th, students will go to class like any normal day. On this day people will drive to work and complain about being stuck in traffic. On this day little daily rituals will feel just as normal as ever. But 18 years ago, on 9/11, the day felt anything but normal.
The terrorist attacks that took place on 9/11/2001, turned the world upside down and struck fear and anger into the hearts of millions of Americans.
For the people who witnessed the towers falling either in person or on television, or for those who lost loved ones, the images of that day will never be forgotten. The attack that day will stay with us as the defining moment that the security and safety embodied by the United States disappeared.
9/11 is a day of remembrance for those who were taken too soon and for those who sacrificed their lives to save others.
But for many, they were too young to remember the attacks; some may not have even been born yet. Nevertheless, having grown up in this “post 9/11” world and even though they may not remember it, 9/11 has affected how we live.
Even if some of us do not have a personal connection to a loved one who was hurt or killed in the attacks, many of us will post on social media in remembrance of that day. Why is that? Many young people do not have anything to remember. But their parents do. Their grandparents do. The generations before them have things to remember—the horrible images on the television screens; the weeks, months, and years of rebuilding; the photographs memorializing those who were lost.
9/11 is an event that we, as Americans, all shared and suffered through together. The attacks that took place 18 years ago hurt the families of those who were injured and killed, but the attacks also hurt the entire country.
Why do we remember? Because we all shared the hurt and the pain of that day. Because we can learn from that day. We can learn that hate doesn’t solve anything. We can learn about sacrifice, unconditional love, and the determination of those who helped bring people to safety. We can learn about compassion.
We can learn that being American runs much deeper than people believe. The horrifying acts of violence that took place on 9/11 hurt all Americans, regardless of background; there was no discrimination on who was killed that day.
We should remember because we need to remember. We have this day to remind us that we are one nation despite our differences. And although some may not have any actual memories from that day, they should learn from those before them through their stories. We all should remember what 9/11 means to us as a nation and put aside the craziness of media, political battles, and hate. We need to remember this day more often than just on this day. 9/11 reminds us what it means to spread love, stories, and compassion, and to understand and appreciate our differences. This day reminds us what it really means to be in the United State of America.
History doesn’t just disappear; it’s forgotten through a lack of paying attention. Let’s not forget 9/11.
Charles Howard is a freelance writer