Everyone Has A 9/11 Story

Sixteen years after the worst terrorist attack on American soil, and the world is still as dangerous and violent as ever. So few problems have been solved. So many seem to pop up by the day.

It’s almost as if violence and bloodshed, hatred and division, are indelible parts of the human condition. Who knew?

I was going to write about some negative aspects of 9/11, things people have said to me, and so forth. But then I realized, why dwell on the negative? Today we commemorate one of the most negative days in American history. I’d rather not add to it.

That’s why these kinds of commemorations–even dumb blog posts–are important. A whole generation born after 9/11 or too young to remember is now entering adulthood. It’d be tragic if these stories were lost, the event downplayed, or worse, trivialized and forgotten.

Remember the fallen and the survivors, remember the heroes, and remember our enemies. Just remember.

And listen. Everyone has a 9/11 story the way our ancestors had Civil War stories and Jim Crow stories and Depression stories and Pearl Harbor stories and civil rights stories and Vietnam stories. We all need an ear to listen, not for our own vanity, but so we never forget.

It’s cathartic. The rituals and reverence ensure that we take certain things seriously, which in the world of snark and smirking detachment we’re all occupying is more vital than ever.

So what’s my 9/11 story? Continue reading “Everyone Has A 9/11 Story”

Days of Infamy 

Today marks the 75th anniversary of the Japanese attack on the American military base at Pearl Harbor, culminating in the sinking of the USS Arizona. Numerous pieces have, are currently, and will be written about this day, what it meant then, what it means now, and what it will mean in the future. 

This is not one of those pieces. 

Last summer in a post commemorating the D-Day invasion of Normandy, I discussed why it’s important to commemorate these important national days:

We’ll never know. But it’s important that we keep the memory of those who survived, and those who died, forever in our national consciousness. This country has done so many great things, and is capable of so many more. Black, white, whatever, we’re in his together. We haven’t always been, but we have been longer than not. 

I stand by this, but it’s important to remember that all of our best days aren’t necessarily behind us. 

I remember 9/11 because I was just shy of my 20th birthday on that day. While I didn’t enlist then, much to my chagrin, I knew so many who did because the attacks affected them so. 

Admittedly, my age group is on the older edge of the millennial spectrum. But still, lost in the furor over whiny, spoiled, bitter, vitriolic, and just plain mean special snowflakes is the fact that not all young people are like that

There are some who do imbibe the lessons and wisdom of tradition, who are indoctrinated into the good things in life, who seem so “mature beyond their years” for the mere fact that they aren’t acting like idiots. 

This is the problem: Our culture expects to young people to act like idiots and actively encourages it. 

Think about it: We love to keep young people perpetually adolescent and dependent. You can remain on your parents’ health insurance plan until the age of 26. People are routinely in school until the age of 30(!) and still cant support themselves or a family. 

But some “kids” still rise to the occasion. They did during World War II, the did after 9/11, and I’m sure they will do it again when needed on other upcoming days of infamy that are sure to happen. 

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