September 11th, 2011 – We Will Never Forget

A poll taken just this week reveals that 58% of Americans fear a terrorist attack. Ten years after the Dealey Plaza moment of my generation, people are still unnerved. We can no longer carry nail files, letter openers, matches, lighters, or even water bottles onto planes. We must raise our arms, take off our shoes, and empty our pockets before we can board a jet that is reinforced with locked cockpit doors and discreetly positioned air marshals. Gone are the days of unquestioningly embracing cultural differences and anticipating foreign exchanges with passengers from other countries. Instead, Americans peer suspiciously at the world around them with cautious eyes.

Our nation’s innocence was ripped away on the morning of September 11, 2001. I, like most, remember exactly where I was and what I was doing. I, fortunately, do not remember it with the pain and grief still felt by the thousands of survivors and family members who lost loved ones on that day. I flew my flag high, plastered my car with 9/11 stickers, and attended church more often in the months following the attacks. I felt a common bond with every fellow citizen, regardless of their skin color. Patriotism, a trait that we all possessed but few portrayed, became a common denominator linking every person together in a formidable chain of empathy, solidarity and unity. We paid attention to the threat alerts and knew the colors well. We rallied behind our leaders and supported our troops as they marched into foreign countries to avenge our loss. We held our children tighter, watched out for our neighbors and said “I love you,” more often.

But that was then and this is now. The 9/11 memorial will be unveiled on the tenth anniversary of the tragedy. Families will come to mourn, remember and honor those who gave their lives voluntarily as did most of the first responders, and involuntarily as did all of those who were on the hijacked planes or worked in the Twin Towers and at the Pentagon. College students remember the event, some from their parents’ recollections more than their own recall. Some teenagers swear adamantly that they remember every second of that terrible day. But middle school students, and the children entering our world today, do not. They have no comprehension of the before and after attitudes of our society. They did not experience the fear and terror that overtook our country at that moment and in the ensuing weeks. They are unfamiliar with the term “anthrax.” These children read about our nation’s greatest tragedy in history books. They see pictures of the towering gray steel frame and the dusty firefighters amidst a pile of rubble, in museums, not live on CNN. They know little about a bad man named Osama Bin Laden, except for that he is dead, and yet our nation is still divided over our presence in the Middle East.

But for those of us who were there and those of us who watched in disbelief, those of us who have had our lives permanently changed as a result of being witness to one of the most historical traumas in the psychological schema of this country, we will remember. Ten years later, we will honor the memory of all of those who we lost that day. We will reflect on how far our country has come and far we have to go. We will share stories with others and with our children. And most of all, we will never forget.

© Copyright 2011 by Jen Wilson. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • Eliza

    Eliza

    September 9th, 2011 at 2:15 PM

    It does not scare me that it could happen again because I guess when it is my time to go then it’s my time and I really do not think that I have any control over that.

    But it does sadden me to think about that day and to think that that could happen to us all over again makes me feel very uncomfortable. If they were so callous to blatantly ruin so many lives the first time, then we know that they are definitely ok with doing it all over again.

    Doesn’t that make you sad gor humanity that we as a whole think so little of life?

  • Lauren Erents

    Lauren Erents

    September 9th, 2011 at 8:49 PM

    Wow, ten years have gone by already, yet I feel like it was only yesterday… Probably because I can remember all of the minuscule details of that day. I remember receiving a call from a relative to turn on the news, and when I did I was shocked. This was probably before anything came up about it being the work of terrorists but I was still horrified seeing the total destruction of a building so large and populated. This September 11 make sure you take sometime out of your day to remember all of the people who lost their lives that day. Whether you’re busy or not doesn’t matter, you can find time if you want to.

  • tina langan

    tina langan

    September 9th, 2011 at 8:54 PM

    Never ever will we forget. I must admit that as the tenth anniversary approaches, I’ve been more and more worried that there will be another terrorist attack somewhere on that day, maybe even an attempt at the memorial event.

    With Bin Laden having been killed so recently, they will be out for vengeance. It doesn’t bear thinking about that they would target those families who lost so much all over again, but I’m forgetting how inhuman they are. They are capable of such an atrocity there or anywhere. I pray that the day won’t be marred by tragedy again.

  • Yvonne D.

    Yvonne D.

    September 10th, 2011 at 11:03 AM

    Seeing all the anniversary coverage of 9/11 brings back so many of the heartbreaking images that were all over the media. I had nightmares for weeks after that and I wasn’t even directly affected by losing a loved one nor lived there.

    I cannot imagine how any family found the strength to get through that. We owe it to them to forever honor those who perished. We need to make sure every generation that follows knows full well what happened so they continue to honor the dead long after those of us who remember are no longer around to retell the events of 9/11.

  • paisley

    paisley

    September 10th, 2011 at 11:44 AM

    It is so hard to believe that this happened to us ten years ago! When I think about it and see all of the images from that day it seems like only yesterday. Unbelievable.

  • Selena Francis

    Selena Francis

    September 10th, 2011 at 3:16 PM

    I’m not normally a person who thinks about such things which is why I hate to feel this trepidation that’s crept up on me in the last week. I don’t want terrorists to think they intimidate me. That’s what they want, us to be fearful, to be jumping at shadows, our cohesiveness undermined by uncertainty and fear.

    I do feel less guilty about that now though when I see 58% of Americans have the same concerns. But never would I give them the pleasure of thinking of us as a defeated, distracted people.

  • Joanie Claire

    Joanie Claire

    September 10th, 2011 at 3:44 PM

    May those 9/11 families have found some comfort by now and know the whole country grieved with each and every one of them.

    My most vivid memories are of the sea of faces, all clutching photographs of loved ones they were searching for, every one of them grief-stricken and terrified about what they would find. I wept many times listening to them being interviewed on street corners by roaming reporters. It was the most heartbreaking thing I’ve ever seen in my life.

    We WILL NEVER forget, NEVER.

  • Gail Corr

    Gail Corr

    September 10th, 2011 at 4:26 PM

    We as a nation owe it to all those who died to join together and feel that connection again with our neighbors we did a decade ago. We need more love and less hate, more tolerance and less division, more helping hands than turning away.

    Love shall overcome. God Bless.

  • Grant Haversham

    Grant Haversham

    September 10th, 2011 at 4:42 PM

    I’ve never watched live coverage of an event the way I did when 9/11 happened. It was so surreal yet devastating.

    Images like that are seared into your brain, so how could any of us who saw those ever forget? I was at home on a week’s vacation and I remember literally staying up round the clock watching all the horror unfold. I couldn’t tear myself away from the TV or fathom how this could have happened.

  • m.b.a

    m.b.a

    September 10th, 2011 at 5:36 PM

    I am both an American, and a Muslim, and I went quickly from being open about my religion to lying about it after 9/11. I love God and I love my country, and was horrified by what happened. Because of those evildoers who cannot properly follow the word of a peaceful religion, I am forced into silence. I do not wish to be associated with their terrible deeds.

  • m h

    m h

    September 10th, 2011 at 11:57 PM

    its not easy for a person to forget a traumatic event in his life. and its all the more difficult for an entire nation to forget such an event. its not forgetting about it that we need to do, what we need to do is how to prevent such a thing again. although we have done well to not have anything after that day, going on bulldozing innocent people in other lands is not the solution.

    as much as I mourn for the loves lost on 9/11, I also mourn for the innocent lives lost in Afghanistan…after all, innocent people are just that, whichever country they belong to.

  • roxie

    roxie

    September 12th, 2011 at 4:16 AM

    I lived just across the river in NJ on Sept 11, 2001, and having that happened is what prompted me to move. It was just hitting too close to home for me day in and day out to look and still be able to see the smoldering ruins weeks and weeks later. Yesterday was hard for so many of us, and especially the families that lost someone in the attack. But I think that we all lost a little bit of ourselves that day, something that can never be regained.

  • Debbie

    Debbie

    September 12th, 2011 at 6:35 AM

    Its really disheartening when you are stuck by a tragedy. You cannot do anything about it except for being left with the rampage that the tragedy leaves.

    But when you come together in a community and have people around you who have been through the same, it gives you some strength, some courage. That is exactly how I feel about this great tragedy that is now 10 years in the past.

  • Amber Ross

    Amber Ross

    September 12th, 2011 at 2:36 PM

    @m.b.a.- Just like how Klansmen don’t represent everybody in the South, terrorists don’t represent the Islamic community. It’s almost impossible to get some to see sense about this. All groups have their rotten eggs. Even Sikh, Buddhists, Wiccans, and Christians have their monsters who prey on others and use them for their own ends. No religion is exempt.

    It’s time we saw each other as human beings first and noted the person’s chosen religion second. America, don’t let the extremists cloud your judgment.

  • Rebekah Devon

    Rebekah Devon

    September 12th, 2011 at 3:10 PM

    We are still feeling the effects of a single event ten years after the fact. That’s no surprise given how shocking and catastrophic it was. From that day on right up until now the criticism against Bush’s handling of the resulting “war on terror” and Obama’s subsequent handling has become louder and louder.

    It’s time for all the troops to be home and safe. Bin Laden is dead. Mission accomplished. Bring them home and now.

  • Alan Hopper

    Alan Hopper

    September 12th, 2011 at 4:05 PM

    Americans have been fighting back against the changes that were made post-9/11 such as the increased flight restrictions in carry-on luggage and overly intrusive pat-downs or body scanning by airport security. We’re used to being free to come and go as we please without feeling like we live in a police state.

    That’s one of the legacies of 9/11, the way its reined in our First Amendment right to liberty. Do I complain? Not a bit because I never want to see such an atrocity happen again. Such restrictions are a small price to pay if they save your life.

  • Erica Fox

    Erica Fox

    September 12th, 2011 at 4:12 PM

    The increased security at the airports is absolutely necessary and the criticism directed at their implementation is insane! The TSA being called out on their perceived wrongdoings, and false statements about what they can do if you don’t comply spread by scaremongers, is nonsense. All that drowns out the obvious need for increased security and the good it does.

    We HAVE to have that deterrent there to make terrorists think twice! If the government had done nothing to improve airline security measures, there would have been an outcry too over their inaction. Many of the citizens in this great country need a reality check and to reassess what’s important. I’d rather fly with today’s standards than to have seen nothing change.

  • Duncan Burgess

    Duncan Burgess

    September 12th, 2011 at 4:22 PM

    I recall some big mouth ranting about how when our freedoms are compromised, terrorism has won. Well I have no intention to defend your right to take a nail file on a plane, okay buddy? Use your brain. Or maybe we should make you board a plane with people who would be considered suspect under the new guidelines, just to test it out for the rest of us saner folks.

  • Georgina Cartwright

    Georgina Cartwright

    September 12th, 2011 at 4:37 PM

    It should not take two entire buildings coming down and taking thousands of lives with it to make a nation come together at one moment. People should always stick together. These are your countrymen and you have to respect that bond regardless of how things are.

    Americans supporting fellow Americans used to be the norm and not the exception. Let’s get back to grass roots. RIP all the 9/11 victims. We will never forget.

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