We said we would never forget, those of us who watched in horror as the planes flew into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. We said we would always remember and commemorate the first responders and innocent civilians who died when the skyscrapers fell and carpeted downtown New York will layers of dust and toxic chemicals. We promised that we were all Americans and would stand together against the tyranny of foreign radicals spewing hate and jihad while avowing to believe in a god that promoted peace. We promised to remember the heroes and heroines on United Airlines Flight 93 that crashed in the fields outside Shanksville, Pennsylvania to prevent the terrorists attacking the White House, US Capitol Building or some other monument to American freedom. We vowed to always remember the sight of the cavity burned into the Pentagon, the symbol of American military might.
We Americans lauded the selflessness of the first responders who ran bravely into the valley of the shadow of death with 60 police officers and 343 firefighters paying the ultimate price in service to the people who relied upon them in valiant efforts to save those trapped by the raging fires.
The free world responded with support. America’s citizens put aside petty squabbles. Men and women volunteered to fight for America in the war on terror and deployed to the inhospitable lands of Afghanistan and Iraq. Celebrities performed concerts to raise money. Congress conducted investigations. The Department of Homeland Security was formed to eliminate failures of the various bureaus and security agencies to share information.
For the first 5 years the horror was still raw. But life moved on. Despite saying we would never forget this first act of war by foreigners on the US Mainland, the resilience of the human mind contributed to people forgetting the devastation, fear and insecurity we all felt on 9/11/2001. People became accustomed to invasion of privacy by national security agencies. People acclimated to offensive intrusion by TSA officers. The American public slowly became “sheeple” but forgot why.
In the last 16 years our citizens have moved away from being a people united in celebrating our collective freedoms to a country divided by moral judgment and self-identity segregation. We risk decay from within rather than obliteration by attacks from without.
If you have read any of the major newspapers or watched the mainstream television networks today you will note that the media would rather focus on Hurricane Irma, how UVA was ill-prepared for the white supremacist march in Charlottesville, how Hillary Clinton is still “sad” she lost the presidential election last year, and a HUGE leak about the release of the Apple iPhone 8. I am disgusted.
As many have reminded the masses, those who ignore history are likely to repeat it. 16 years is not a long time in the scheme of things. I, for one, refuse to forget.
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