9/11-12 Years Later

Today is Wednesday. September 11th. 2013. It has been 12 years since our country was attacked. 12 years since our nation’s heart broke. 12 years since so many brave heroes risked and ultimately paid the ultimate price, trying to help people in need. It’s been 12 years and still we remember September 11th.

I will always remember where I was when I heard about the September 11th attacks. I was in the third grade. I had turned eight two days before. It was my aunt’s birthday. I remember going to Mrs. Azzaro’s class. This was at H.A. Hyde Elementary School in Watsonville, California. I can’t say I remember exactly how we started discussing the attacks. I don’t think I had been in such a somber classroom until my junior year of high school. Several of us didn’t know what was going on. Students who had heard and our teacher told us. I don’t think I quite understood the magnitude of what had happened. Not many eight-year-olds could. But I do remember thinking: How did this happen? How could of this had happened? People died? I know that this day holds a lot of grief for so many people. We all know somebody greatly affected by the attacks. But we need to remember what happened.

The world changed forever on September 11th. Great evil was seen that day. The towers in New York. The Pentagon building in Arlington. United 93, the plane that went down in Pennsylvania. 3,000 people dead. Men and women. Families devastated. A nation torn. We remember what happened because it literally changed everything. War. Hurt. Security. Our nation will never be the same.

People may ask ‘It’s been 12 years, why can’t we just move on already?’ I’ll tell you why we can’t just move on and forget. This country has moved on. When something happens to you, and your country, you don’t just move on and pretend it didn’t happen. You learn to adjust. You learn to live. One thing is for sure I’ve noticed that as the years pass the way we remember changes. The television coverage changes. The specials you see on the History Channel are updated. There are and always will be memorials for that day. It is still a great wish of mine to visit the 9/11 Memorials in New York. We have these to remember. We remember the heroic firefighters and police officers who died trying to save people from the burning towers. We remember the people on United 93, who tried to stop the terrorists from reaching Washington D.C. Everybody on the plane died, but in doing so, they prevented so many more from dying.

When Pearl Harbor was attacked in 1941, America entered World War II. It’s been over seventy years since the attacks there. We should never forget what happened at Pearl Harbor because it is our history. If we forget our history, we begin to lose our identity of what America is. We need to remember and we need to talk about what happened. Last year, I met a man in his early twenties who did not know what had happened on September 11th. This is so wrong. I always hoped he was joking. But this is something we can’t joke about.

September 11th is always going to be a part of this country’s history. The services and memorials will always be there. So much bad happened on that day. But there was one good thing: America came together that day. We got over our petty differences. We loved each other that day and we did so, continue to do so, on every September 11th since. We remember. And we always should.