Don't ever forget: Services might stop some day, but we need to remember
On Sept. 11, 2001, this nation took a deep breath and decided that it would not let terrorists steal its pride, its unity and its way of life.
We are stronger than that, we said.
We also vowed we would not forget the men and women who died in the World Trade Center and at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and promised to honor those aboard the jet that crashed in Pennsylvania. We looked on with awe as we heard the story of the passengers and crew who decided in mid-air that they were not going to let terrorists destroy one more bit of their country -- even if they lost their own lives in the process.
We said we would never forget and would avenge those whose lives were stolen and care for the families they left behind.
The questions seven years later are ... did we, are we and have we?
As time has passed, some of the raw has healed over in the wound that was Sept. 11. For those of us who are not looking at an empty place at a table or remembering lost friends, the attacks seem to have become a part of the history books -- and the memorials not quite so prone to inspire tears.
We are sad, but in some cases, we have forgotten.
This should be the year that we remember.
The Sept. 11 horror should have taught us something about ourselves and our nation.
It should have reminded us that we have enemies without scruples or honor. It should have reminded us that staying out of the fray is simply not enough to protect Americans.
And it should have reminded us again that we are so much stronger when we pull together, set aside our differences and think about our country and each other first.
Somehow, the spirit, unity and sadness we have felt has left us and has been replaced by doubt, disgust and little memory of just how dangerous this world can be.
We are turning to fear, hesitation and self-doubt rather than remembering this nation's history of caring for those who need us and defending those who cannot help themselves.
We have forgotten what it means to be "America."
Today we will remember what that day seven years ago felt like -- we will talk about where we were and think about the families who were left behind to carry on with their lives.
We might even count ourselves lucky that we have our families and friends and vow to spend more time with them.
And then we should think about what we want for our country's future -- and what our Pledge of Allegiance really means and what it requires.
That is how we will honor those lost lives -- by protecting, defending and honoring the country -- and the families -- they left in our care.
Published in Editorials on September 11, 2008 11:08 AM