I was driving to work in Austin, Texas when I heard the DJ on the radio say that a plane had crashed into one of the towers of the World Trade Center. By the time I got to my office the second plane had hit the other tower. I stood in the break room with my co-workers staring at the television in silent amazement as first the South and then the North Tower collapsed. Soon after, the United States would enter into its longest war.
Now, on the tenth anniversary of that dark day, we’re acutely aware of how our lives have changed. Personally, I avoid air travel whenever possible. Not so much out of consternation due to “what if” scenarios, but because of the miserable experience that flying has become in the wake of the “security” measures now in place. Our porous borders and, more significantly, our government’s steadfast refusal to do anything about them, are a cause for much concern. Most disturbing of all is the constant parade of new entries onto our eulogy pages.
It’s easy to pass only an occasional thought to those fighting our wars; after all, it’s happening far from home. Easy, unless someone deployed is a friend or a member of our family. They too are far from home. They work far from home. They fight far from home. They die far from home.
Today will see a media blitz of remembrances and memorials. It would do us all well to not become hardened or feel saturated to the point that we turn away. There’s not much I can write here that hasn’t already been said or written over the past ten years. September 11, 2001 has earned its place in the American Lexicon of Infamy as simply, “Nine-Eleven”.
“We need to move on”, some say. Yes, we do. But some also equate moving on with forgetting what brought us here. As a nation, that’s a course of action we cannot abide. As Santayana wrote, “Those who cannot remember the past…”
We cannot afford to forget what happened on 9/11. As we move forward let’s not forget those who died so horribly that day. Let’s not forget the passengers on the planes, or those killed in the buildings and on the ground, or those who are still dying, both at home and in far off lands, as a direct result of those attacks ten years ago.