September 11th is a day wrought with emotion throughout our entire country. Those who remember that day in 2001, saw events unfold on television, looked up at the towers from the streets of NYC, evacuated from the pentagon, or saw the devastation as workers and volunteers in the aftermath; everyone knows the story of where they were, what they were doing, and what they did immediately following the news. For teenagers and adults that realized the immediate impact there was shock and disbelief. Children too young to understand the significance of the event remember their family’s responses. Soon after, the shock was followed with a sinking, gut wrenching ball of despair and devastation.
It was devastating to think there was a culture so primitive they thought the way to peace was destruction. It was devastating to think that this extremest culture was so small, thousands at the time, maybe just over 100,000, and yet they inflicted so much damage. It was devastating to understand that in some way (at the time undetermined) this meant we would go to war and war inevitably means continued loss of life. It was devastating to realize that we had just witnessed the largest terrorist attack in modern history. It was devastating to think of all the people we lost and that their families would never see them again, that they had now become unwilling martyrs because of their participation in the American way of life.
And there was despair. How did this happen? How were we so unsafe? How were we so vulnerable? How come we couldn’t or didn’t protect ourselves in time? How did our image of might not save us? How do we continue to be strong with such a hole in our armor? How do we recover? How do we move on? Individually and as a country. How do we rebuild? How do we project a stronger image? And how the heck do we take down the organization that instigated this? How do we eradicate the monsters who proclaim we are the evil of the world without becoming monsters, same as them?
There was anger. There still is anger. There is still shock and despair, devastation and disbelief. We are still grieving, we may never stop.
But we have begun to heal. The destruction has been cleared away. We have had funerals. We built memorials. We have channeled our anger and outrage. We have been to war. We will continue to go to war. We will continue to protect ourselves with policies and weapons, we continue fight back against those that would commit genocide against us.
Significant days are not lost on us, like any country we have moments in our history that need to be remembered, to remind us of who we are. We are independent, 4 July. We are triumphant, 6 June. We are resilient, 7 December.
September 11th, we are reborn. We are humbled at our vulnerability, no longer feeling as an invincible nation. We are strengthened at our resilience to rebuild, to recover. We are determined to remain strong; determined to subdue a violent enemy that endangers not only our way of life but that of our greatest allies; determined to move forward and protect who we are; determined to construct a safe future and a powerful country; determined to deter an event like this from ever happening again.
September 11th is not a day that will fade into the history books. It will live in our emotions and our memories for the next 100 years and after that, it will live in our children’s memories.
September 11th will always be remembered.