Friday, September 11, 2009

There is no substitute

I am currently watching the History Channel's "Remembering 9/11," uninterrupted by commercials. Even though the events of that day are well known to me, the video footage still leaves me numb.

It was just eight years ago. Eight years ago our nation was savagely attacked and thousands died. No one's forgotten it. Yet as I watched images from that day, and the emotions I felt that morning in my middle school library began to sweep over me again, I realized that I had forgotten it, or at least its significance and the response it elicited.

An attack like that occurring today seems unfathomable. But there on the screen was a reminder that it's anything but. I fear that as a nation we've already put 9/11 in the back of our collective memory. While we still pause to reflect on its anniversary, it doesn't hold nearly the same kind of power and meaning as it did just a few years ago.

Perhaps it's not too hard to see why. Today, 9/11/09, our president spoke, but not to remind us of why we're in Afghanistan or why combating terrorism abroad is essential for our national security. Instead, he promoted health care reform and the need for green jobs. Students in Minnesota assembled Energy Efficiency Outreach Bags instead of viewing footage from that fateful day. Others in Oklahoma pulled weeds and planted a garden. While these deeds are certainly a decent gesture, they completely fail to truly remind us of a tragedy that happened less than a decade ago and could happen again.

The eighth anniversary of 9/11 will probably be over by the time you read this. But the images and events of that day are still readily accessible, and just as relevant. I urge each and every one of you to take a couple minutes and simply watch. There is no substitute.

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