Fewer places lower their flags to half-mast on this day. And based on the trend I've noticed over the past years, next year will show even fewer flags lowered. I was shocked to realize that today is the 17th anniversary of those September 11th attacks which fundamentally changed our society in so many ways. As I stood with my daughters today, and conversed with the other neighbors at the school bus stop, all of us remember exactly where we were and what we were doing at the moment we found out about the attacks. But directly across the street, at the high school, I realized the seniors have no first hand memory of the terrorism that invaded our shores. Time has passed and we even have adults who don't remember life before the planes were deliberately flown into the towers.
Revisionist history and conspiracy theories are no help, either. As the distance in time grows ever larger between the events, and news outlets or politicians refuse to allow original footage to be played (it might be inflammatory, and we don't want to anger our citizens!), facts get confused, twisted, or forgotten. The tricks of time and age will rob something from us all, eventually.
The plain and simple facts are that a group of Muslim terrorists hijacked commercial airliners and used them to commit attacks on the Twin Towers with all of their encompassed businesses in New York, and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. Some brave passengers fought back and stopped a fourth attack by overwhelming the hijackers and downing their plane in a field in Pennsylvania.
The terrorists didn't care about American lives, either on the planes or in the buildings they attacked, because they WANTED to kill as many of us as possible. Mothers, children, fathers, sons, grandparents didn't matter to them, except as casualty numbers. These despicable attacks carried out without compassion or concern should never be forgotten.
I know many in today's society will view the summary as hate speech. Some people will undoubtedly seek to censor me, or have this post removed. But America was attacked by foreign invaders, and about 6,000 American citizens were killed in that attack, or as a direct result of health issues from that attack. Thousands more lost their lives fighting terrorists on their own soil in an attempt to stop them from mounting further large attacks against us in our country. These deaths should not be forgotten, no matter how much time passes.
In the midst of the chaos of that morning, there were people who sought to help. Fire, police, and EMT's all rushed toward the site, and into the literal flames in some cases. Others, such as local merchants and citizens, helped in any way they could, from offering shelter to water to first aid to transportation. Those stories abound for any who are willing to read or listen, and they also should not be forgotten.
For a short time our society came together, united, and it didn't matter what your race, skin color, religion, or political leanings were. We mourned, we comforted, we sought to help, and we embraced and supported each other in our anger. We were, for a brief period of time, all simply Americans, without reservation, without delineation, and that shouldn't be forgotten.
Although it's not as socially acceptable, or maybe expectant, after almost two decades of intervening time, those of us who were alive and old enough in 2001 remember the life-changing day. Some may seek to forget, or make others cease in efforts to discuss it or bring it up, and I refuse to forget. Year after year I, personally, honor the day for all that it represents, and I have seen some amazing tributes over the years, but in the end there's only one thing I personally have to say:
I Still Remember