Do you remember where you were that fateful day, when you found out about the Twin Towers and what was going on there?
I do. I always will. Only the forgetfulness of old age or Alzheimers could steal something like that from me. Of course, they say you remember your youth better than yesterday so I will most likely always have it. And with old age, it will probably be more fresh for me than anything else because it was such a huge thing, a life-changing event.
My life will never be the same after that day.
What I worry about it this: Will it ever mean anything to my children?
I have a somewhat different perspective on this than a lot of people I know and a lot of people who have written about it. I was already “grown up” when the towers went down. I was twenty-two that year. I worked, went to school and went about the life of a young woman with no real responsibilities. Most of my friends already had kids by then but I didn’t have kids until almost two years later.
And I wonder, will they ever be able to understand? Will they ever be able to know what those towers meant for us? Or what it meant to us when we had to watch them going down?
I can remember when the Gulf War started. I was in middle school. I remember it was scary but it was also a world away so I never really understood what it all meant to me, for me. It was just something that was happening far away to people I didn’t know. What was the big deal, right?
And I have to ask myself… Is that the way my children will feel about 9/11?
I will never look at the symbols 9/11 put together again without remembering that day. I will never hear someone say 9/11 without thinking back to it. I will never be able to look at a picture of the New York City skyline without tearing up. They’re gone and so many lives were lost unnecessarily with them. It doesn’t matter if they ever rebuild the towers.
I used to believe with all my heart that the towers should be rebuilt. Now I’m not so sure. No matter what they do, rebuild, memorialize the site or let it just sit there empty, the bad guys know they won. That was their victory. They don’t care that they died. They care that they succeeded. They took away lives, memories, a symbol of our country and it’s ingenuity. They made the whole world tremble in fear that day and that was their victory.
If we build the towers again, they will still know that they managed, in one day, to destroy them. If we leave the site empty, they’ll know it’s because they did it. If we leave up a memorial, they’ll feel like we’ve erected a statue to them. No matter which way we go, they still won.
And my children may never understand. My children may never be able to look at that empty skyline and know why mommy sheds a tear. My children will never get to see those buildings standing there, so majestic and proud. They’re gone now. And those buildings will never be there again.
We don’t want to forget.
Because forgetting is letting then win again. Forgetting is the way they hit us where it really hurts. When we remember, we say to them, “You may have won, but we will always remember that it was you. We will always remember what you did to us and we will do everything we can to keep you from doing it again!”
And we will always remember how the American spirit shown out of everyone that day. How people who didn’t know each other, people who were selfish at heart, people who were lazy at heart, banded together to save as many people as they could, get as many people to safety as they could, go in after stranded people.
And then we will remember that our troops went after those bad guys.
GOD BLESS YOU!
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