As hard as it is to believe, that is the question our grandchildren, or in some instances our great-grandchildren will be asking. In fact, if those of us that personally witnessed it had not, we would not believe it had ever happened. Aside from the documentary reminders each year, the ground zero monuments and an occasional social media post, we could never tell that one day twenty years ago, America collectively called
Our demeanor today bears no indication that 19 men armed with only box cutters and hatred hijacked four US Airliners, that resulted in the loss of over 3,000 American lives. However, from watching local state or even national news broadcasts, it is painfully clear that much of America has 911 Amnesia. In the weeks following the attack that destroyed the World Trade Centers and nearly leveled the Pentagon, much of America seemed to recognize what was almost lost. Much like the demeanor one has in realizing a spouse has survived a terminal illness, Americans had seemed to have fallen in love with America-all over again. For several weeks, churches were full each Sunday, and America was overflowing with American Flags, t-shirts, and celebratory events. Suddenly, just as quickly as it had begun- it suddenly ended. Gone were the symbols of pride and patriotism, replaced by a disposition of, “business as usual.” Within a short period of time, the attitude of the small anti-American minority began to infect the majority. Seemingly overnight, this disdain grew to a prevalence unlike anything we had ever seen before. Now, some twenty years later it, we are reminded daily that it is somehow un-American to be American.
In the last few years, we have watched in shock and horror as our cities were set ablaze and our iconic symbols of history were toppled with impunity. Statues of those that served America faithfully and monuments to those that not only have improved our lives but risked much so that we would even have them, were quickly swept up in the wake of the mobs we saw before us. How is it possible that the tragedies on that fateful day, let alone the tragic lessons we should have learned be all but forgotten? While many today are striving to unravel the very fabric on which this country is founded, they do so with unfortunately little to no resistance. Whether it is kneeling at the sound of our anthem, or the turning of backs on the same, a message has clearly been sent. Regardless of where many of us profess to stand, we have allowed those that don’t represent us to represent us, while forcing those that often stand for us to stand alone. Somehow, many of our parents, and we as parents have failed along the way. Clearly not all or most, but enough of us that our conduct sends the message that when it comes to that terrible day in September so many years ago, we have all but forgotten. Yet, standing amongst the dust and debris of what many have sought to destroy, those that love America and live lives that honor her stand nonetheless resilient, for we refuse to stand by while negative events of the past seek to define a positive future.
George Santayana once famously pointed out that those that do not learn from history, are doomed to repeat it. We must remember that when it comes to the freedoms that we employ and enjoy, though we may not have fought for them, they were indeed fought, and in many cases, died for. It is in lieu of these tragedies that we can ill afford to make the same mistakes again.
Regardless of your station in life, you must fight. Regardless of your economic status, you must fight. Regardless of your skin color, and/or ethnicity, you must fight. Regardless of even your personal religious beliefs, you must fight. Our country, our future, our freedoms, and way of life are being ripped away from us as we speak. If not for your own sakes, for the sakes of our children and grandchildren. If we fail again, our descendants won’t be saying, “What was 9-11?”; they will instead be saying, “What was America?”