I wrote this column for my newspaper, the Crestiad. I’m reposting it here. It is written in past tense because the newspaper print does not come out until September 13th.
Two days ago Americans across the country remembered the World Trade Center attacks. A horrific act that destroyed 3,000 peoples’ lives and scarred their families.
I remember what happened that day eleven years ago. I was in third grade, and the day seemed like any other school day. Then the phone rang in my teacher’s office around 8:30 AM. She went inside her office, answered it, and started crying. I remember looking at my classmates and we were all pretty disturbed, like “What was going on?”. Then she came out and turned on the television. Channel 3 News in Pensacola, Florida announced that there had been an attack on American soil.
I don’t really remember much after that, but I know that it didn’t really set in until about a week later. I do remember having nightmares for awhile. I still do, sometimes. For me emotionally, it hit me like a tidal wave when I truly understood what happened many weeks later.
But these people did not die in vain. They were doing the American way–working to feed and clothe their families. It just so happened that nineteen bad men from a peaceful religion decided to hijack airplanes and smash them into the World Trade Center towers.
But all is not lost. We have a military that we should be proud of. Our soldiers are fighting the good fight to erase terrorism once and for all. These men and women risk their lives everyday for our freedom that we as Americans have today. I am truly grateful for them.
I sometimes take this country for granted. Sure, I could have been born in Western Europe or China or Australia. I should be more grateful. We have a Constitution that has stood for more than 200 years. We have freedoms that some countries dream about.
I ask the Cedar Crest community a question: will you take this country for granted? Or will you embrace it and remember you’re an American, and no one else? No hyphenated Americans (like African-American) as we have used in the past, just Americans. We are a nation of proud immigrants. We should always be proud to be an American.
I urge the Cedar Crest community to remember September 11th even though our children won’t remember it. We must teach the future generations to come that it could happen again. Forgetting 9/11 would be forgetting the memory of Americans pulling together after such a tragedy. That important trait as Americans is our strength. As Patrick Henry so proudly stated in his last public speech in 1799, “United we stand, divided we fall”.