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Friday, September 11, 2009

Remembering 9/11 – Why its Important

Image from FEMA - Public Doman. Wikimedia Commons.

I will never forget the events of 9/11 – nor where I was and how I felt that day and in all the days that followed. Few things have caused me to cry so long and so hard as I did then.

Today, I have been reflecting and remembering. For me, its about so much more than us being attacked. Please understand – us being attacked is horrible and I in no way mean to minimize it. It IS a big deal that we were attacked.

There are also other aspects of what happened that should be considered.

In the months leading up to the attack, we were being attacked around the world. Do you remember the U.S.S. Cole incident? There were others, too. Americans were being targeted. Since 9/11 things have changed a great deal and the terrorists and the war they launched against us were taken off our soil.

When the World Trade Center towers were hit, it was not just Americans who died. In the towers and on the planes were people from many other countries, too. The World Trade Center was just that – a place of business for people all around the world. When the towers were chosen as targets, war was declared on the world.

News reports that day and in the days following as officials struggled to find out who was behind the attacks showed people in some countries in mourning – sending prayers for those they lost and for us, or just shedding tears and sending prayers for the losses we experienced, guiltily feeling grateful that their country did not experience losses, too.

Other clips showed people in other countries taking to the streets, celebrating and cheering. It wasn’t just the ‘radical Muslim al-Qaeda members’ who wanted us dead. There are other groups, people and countries around the world who share the sentiment.

We need to remember this – not to stir up anger and hate, but so that we can be aware and prepared. If we know who ‘the enemy’ is it’s a lot easier to know how to protect ourselves and defeat them in their efforts against us.

The people who died that day and in the days following due to the attacks are numerous. The pain still felt to this day by those left behind is immeasurable. We cannot change what happened, but we can stand strong and show those who wish us harm that they have failed. We can honor the memories of those we lost best by making their death more than a senseless tragedy. Let us use it to be better, kinder, more united and stronger.

Let us honor them by rebuilding the towers – bigger, better and stronger.
Let us honor them by remembering the days following 9/11 and reclaiming those feelings of love, kindness, compassion and togetherness we had. We are Americans, first and foremost. United we stand – divided we fall.
Let us never forget this day; using every anniversary as a renewal to our commitment to be united and to never let ‘our enemies’ (foreign or domestic) destroy us.

Let us keep the focus on the day as it should be and not allow the impact of 9/11 be minimized by calling it “A day of service”. We already are highly charitable and service-minded as a people. A day of service can be proclaimed any day – do not dishonor those who died or give a win to those who attacked by repackaging this day and ignoring the history of this country.

Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it. Let us not condemn ourselves by forgetting, whitewashing or repackaging this day and the important lessons we have learned. Those lessons and how we became united, strengthened and inspired is why remembering this day is important.

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