Today marks 20 years since the attacks on September 11, 2001. The adrenaline shock of that morning has long worn off, leaving behind only the horror, the loss, and two decades’ worth of grief. All Americans’ lives changed forever on that day, but for those who lost a loved one, the change was shattering. Let’s keep them in our thoughts while honoring the heroes – the ordinary men and women of the NYC fire and police departments and the air passengers who gave their lives in Shanksville.
Also, for those of us who are older, let’s remember that there is now an entire generation alive who will not remember the events themselves, but will only hear about it from us. These young people experience 9/11 like we experienced VJ-Day – their experience is hearing about it from their parents and reading about it in the history books.
We hope they will not experience their own wars or shattering days of horror, yet they already have. COVID has taken hundreds of thousands more Americans than were lost on 9/11 and the attack of January 11 this year will probably be seen by history as more of a threat to the United States we love than 9/11 was. As President Bush said today:
“There is little cultural overlap between violent extremists abroad and violent extremists at home. But in their disdain for pluralism, in their disregard for human life, in their determination to defile national symbols, they are children of the same foul spirit.”
Still, today is for those who lost something 20 years ago and for those who risked everything to save others that day.
Take a moment to remember. And, as Vice-President Harris said this morning in Pennsylvania:
On the 20th Anniversary of 9/11, we must challenge ourselves to look back — for the sake of our children and theirs [those who lost their lives].
We must also look to the future. Because in the end, that’s what the 40 passengers and crew members of Flight 93 were fighting for: Their future and ours.