Every generation endures one. A moment in history that the mere mention of prompts a flow of what one was doing when they found out that the world stopped turning. A moment that prompts this response, and resounds as a day we as Americans were reminded of the fragility of life, is Sept. 11, 2001.
The nation watched in shock and terror as symbols of American prosperity crumbled and 2,977 Americans lost their lives.
Moving forward from 9/11, Americans came together to remind both the world and ourselves what it means to come together as a nation. A patriotic spirit swept through every main street of every city in every state. Flags flew and trumpets played as patriotism soothed wounds and American heroes were laid to rest.
Fourteen years later, the effects of this American catastrophe are still felt.
But as we move forward in time, a new generation of Americans is entering adulthood. The children of 9/11 are not children anymore. A current freshman in high school was an infant at the time of the attack, and a senior in high school too young to remember it. Soon, there will be young adults who were not even alive on Sept. 11, 2001.
Now, schools face a question: Should 9/11 remain a day memorialized through conversations in schools across the nation?
The answer is a resounding yes.
The world seems to become smaller and smaller each day. It is the time of a global community, not just who lives next door. The next generation of Americans will face an entirely new set of adversities as we must learn to co-exist with a rapidly expanding world population.
With every instance of progress there comes a setback, and terrorism, both domestic and abroad, will be a setback pushing on our population.
Americans must never forget what it means to sacrifice for one’s country.
Seven billion people is enough to transform the world into a pressure cooker, ready to combust at any second.
If America is to rise above and be a model of tranquility and prosperity, and be a global leader, we must look to 9/11 to remind us of important ideals.
Americans must never forget what it means to sacrifice for one’s country. The heroic women and men of 9/11, whether they be firefighters, plane passengers, flight attendants, or World Trade Center employees, forever represent the ideals of patriotism and giving up her or his life for a fellow American. The ultimate sacrifice forever in-debts the country to them. Let none of them die in vain.
Americans must never forget that in our darkest hour, we must look inward and to each other for strength. There is no better ally than friends and neighbors. People must feel the weight of the Pledge of Allegiance and what it means to be an American. We must always remember that in destruction, beauty can always grow, and must consider that every obstacle is a chance to become stronger.
Americans must never forget what great responsibility we carry. Not every state in the world will agree with the American Dream. There will be global competition and resistance faced. It is our job to understand global diversity and sympathize with global struggles. America cannot be the sovereign factor in our decision making, and greed is not an option.
Sept. 11, 2001 serves a schema for a multitude of lessons. It represents conflict, tragedy, bravery, resilience, and the importance of global understanding.
And that, we must never forget.
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(Photograph courtesy of Yokes Photography.)