Stephen Writes

Novels and Short Stories by Stephen England

Remember 9/11: A Retrospective

Posted By on September 11, 2011

It’s been ten years—a decade has passed since that fateful day in September, since the attack that took so many lives and changed our world forever.

            Ten years. In the days following the attacks, the churches across America were filled. Yet now, as the politicians gather in New York to commemorate this anniversary, clergy have been banned from the memorial. This is not, we are told, to be about religion. Have we forgotten?

          Ten years. For months after the tragedy, you hardly met a man on the street who wasn’t wearing an NYPD or NYFD ball cap, as a show of support for the brave first responders, for the men and women who rushed into flaming buildings in an effort to save the lives of those trapped inside. Yet now, they are told that they must have a separate ceremony, three days earlier, because there isn’t room at the memorial for them. It wouldn’t do, I suppose, to have heroes take up the camera space reserved for politicians and their friends. Have we forgotten?

         Ten years. Bin Laden, the architect of the attacks, is now dead, killed cowering in his safehouse in Pakistan. And there are those who would reproach us for rejoicing in his death. And I ask for a third and final time: have we forgotten?

We must not. The memory is painful, as so many memories are, but we owe it to ourselves to remember. We owe it to those who died that day.

It is a day I will never forget. I was eleven years old at the time of the attacks, but that day forever changed me, forever changed the way I perceived the world.

            Years may pass, but time does not heal all wounds, and I will never forget the pain of that day, the feeling of impotent rage watching it all unfold.

            I had no family in the towers that fell that day, no friends on the flights hijacked by the jihadists of al-Qaeda—but in a way, that’s not true.

            I was raised an American, and it has been forever true of America—an attack upon one of us is an attack upon all of us. We all lost someone that day. We all lost family.

            So, remember this September 11th. This is not a day of community service, no matter how much a political administration tries to make it one. This is a day of remembrance.

Remember those who died in the towers, in the Pentagon, in the smoldering ruins of United 93 as passengers took their fate into their own hands and forced the terrorists into the ground.

Remember those who have died taking the fight to the enemy in Afghanistan, Iraq, and across the world.

And last, but far from least, remember those who did this to us, for, as recent days have proved,  the threat of Islamic extremism is far from dead.

Remember, and let the memory burn bright within your heart.

Remember 9/11.  .  .


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