Honor memories, look toward future
The Twin Towers fell down 10 years ago yesterday, and America changed forever. It was a time of terror, anger, fear and despair — a day that we will never forget, no matter how much time elapses. But a reflection on the events of September 11, 2001 must not dwell solely on what was awful about the day. Rather, it is our job now — as survivors, as friends and family members, as human beings — to remember the small amounts of beauty that came out of this tragedy, as well as to mourn the loss of thousands.
We saw America united in a way it never had been before. We watched, and some of us even participated in, the brave efforts to respond to the devastation. We were a country committed to justice and to each other. We must also recall all of those who we lost in the attacks, not merely as names in memorial services, but as people — people with faces and stories, irreplaceable people whose lives, senselessly ended, we must celebrate.
Most University students were just children back then, and it can be difficult — especially for those who were not directly affected by the attacks — to look back through the haze of a decade, back to our preteen years, and find a clear picture of what occurred. Even if it is difficult, it is still our duty to do just that. There are stories to read and memorial services to attend. There are people to comfort and come together with. No matter how detached from the tragedy anyone may think they are, they must realize that, as an American, any distance they feel between themselves and the collapse of the World Trade Center is an imaginary distance. As such, it is easily bridged.
We will carry 9/11 in our hearts forever, and in some ways that’s a good thing. Our lives can become memorials to those who lost their own lives. Our country can look back at that day as a reminder that our commitments to freedom, justice and the lives of all human beings are unending commitments. These are ideals that we can, should and must fight for always, so that nothing like this ever happens again — not in this country nor anywhere else in the world. We must not limit ourselves to remembering only on the anniversaries of 9/11. Instead, we must always keep that day with us, as a way to commemorate the past and move forward to a brighter and better future for everyone. 9/11 is a reminder to put aside petty differences in things like politics — as President Barack Obama and former President George W. Bush saliently did when they appeared together at the 9/11 Memorial — and affirm the fact that we are one nation, and we work best when we are indivisible.