The News Editorial: Never forget
September 15, 2022
Never forget. What does that mean? You saw the phrase a lot for the 9/11 terror attacks that happened 21 years ago last Sunday.
This year, more than any other, the thought occurred to me that every child in grades kindergarten through 12th grade and most college students were not even born when the U.S. was attacked on its own soil, when terrorists hijacked four airplanes and used them as missiles to attack the Pentagon and the World Trade Center. They would have also attacked the Capitol had it not been for the brave souls on Flight 93 who tried to take back the plane, forcing the terrorists to crash land in Pennsylvania.
These young people in school right now they are not the ones who should never forget because they were not there.
The 9/11 terror attacks is something where my generation will always remember where we were on Sept. 11, 2001. It is our Pearl Harbor, it is our John F. Kennedy Assassination. It is something we won’t forget, we can’t forget and we must never forget.
One of the main reasons to never forget is to teach those younger than us what happened that day, to tell the stories of the survivors and of the heroes of that day.
I was watching one special Monday night and one of the survivors from the World Trade Center said he was helping someone and saw someone else in need of help so he hollered at two men to help the woman and they did.
He was not anyone of authority. As he said the men could have easily went on walking focused on getting out of the area themselves and getting home to their loved ones, but they didn’t, without hesitation they helped the woman get to safety.
Firefighters rushed up the stairs in the World Trade Center as those in the building rushed down the stairs.
Listening to the stories from the firefighters who survived, the firefighters who went into the World Trade Center towers knew that they might not make it out alive, but they did it to save others.
Of the 2,977 victims from the 9/11 terror attacks, 343 were firefighters from the New York City Fire Department.
There was an additional 72 other emergency workers who died in the attacks.
We must never forget the victims, the survivors, the heroes, but also let us never forget those who, by the grace of God, were spared because they were running late to work, because they missed their flight, they missed their ferry or some other incident. Each year I hear another story about someone who was supposed to be on one of the hijacked aircraft or in the towers, or in the Pentagon, but they were spared.
We must never forget, and we must teach others, that life is fragile. We don’t know what will happen later today or tomorrow or next week.
Just as we did 21 years ago, go and hug your loved ones a little tighter, tell them you love them, never take for granted the time you can spend with them.
This is what we can never forget and the lessons we need to teach about 9/11.
Let us also think about and never forget the heroes, especially those on Flight 93. Those people on the plane, by all accounts that investigators can piece together from phone calls and messages, they were united in their plan to take back the plane and not let it be used as a missile to kill more Americans.
They did not check first what gender someone was, what sex they were, what political party they were affiliated with, what race or religion they were, what movies or books they liked, what news show they listened to. What mattered is that they were united for one purpose. They, like the firefighters who rushed into the burning towers, knew they more than likely would not make it out alive. They knew if they did not try, they definitely would not make it. They were united in giving themselves a fighting chance and united in ensuring the plane would not be used to kill others, they were protecting strangers they have never met.
We as Americans can come together and be united when we look at a single purpose and we see people as people and not as a label we put on them.
This is a lesson we can never forget, that we can teach others.
This is why we must never forget 9/11.