While we continue to praise our present condition, we must not forget to protect our future
Nearly ten years ago, there was a teenage girl, sitting in an 8th grade history classroom, who was denied the right, with the rest of her fellow classmates to watch history unfold in the United States--to see the news that surrounded the 9/11 attacks. Nearly ten years ago, there was a teenage girl who questioned how anyone could purposely attack another country, how anyone could take the time to plot an attack on thousands of innocent people. Nearly ten years ago, there was a teenage girl who heard Osama Bin Laden's name for the first time.
"They think it was the terrorist Osama Bin Laden," my friend's mom said to me as we sat around a kitchen counter. Our field hockey practice was cancelled that day, but none of us had a true understanding of why. By 10:00 our teachers had been asked to turn off the televisions in all of the middle school classrooms and to keep their students off of computers. I was 13 years old when the twin towers came down, and by the time I actually knew the full extent of what had really happened, I was 5 hours older.
(This of course doesn't mean I understood it--I still don't to this day).
Each September 11, I am reminded of these memories. Each time I walk past a sign that says World Trade Center, I am reminded of these memories. And each time I look out the window at my office building and see the day-by-day progress of the new World Trade Center going up, I am reminded of these memories. Last night, at 11:00, these memories were again brought to the forefront of my mind as I turned on the television, following a text message that told me Obama was just about to announce that Bin Laden had been killed. This time, instead of sadness assisting my memories, my memories were paired with questions: "Where did they find him?" "How did they do it?" "Were any Americans harmed?" "What's next?"
Watching people gather outside the White House and seeing newscasts of the area outside the World Trade Center, I was instantly filled with chills--my skin covered in goosebumps. "This is a moment we will never forget," I said out loud and to myself.
And now it's time to move on--and remember that despite our victory, last night, despite our old memories now being kindled by newer, better memories, that now what we do to protect our country--will be even greater, that despite reaching a stepping stone--there will be many other obstacles to face, and that we will need to continue standing together, as we embrace what we hope to be a safer-and-better world.
While we continue to praise our present condition--we must not forget to protect our future.
Those who died on September 11, 2001, in the buildings, in the Pentagon, and on the planes- those who died due to injuries, cancer, or other life threatening ailments--and those who died fighting for our country because of the attacks will always be remembered: Their lives, their stories, and their families will always be with us.