Sunday, September 11, 2016

Working to Remember and Never Forget

Today marks 15 years since that terrible day.  When I think of the events of September 11th, 2001, I can recall most of it vividly.  I think most of us who were adults at the time can.  I couldn't help but notice today that there seemed to be less and less mention of the anniversary on social media.  Now I have accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others and I saw very little of anything, at least in comparison to past years, about what happened that day.  I guess it should be expected...time does that healing thing, which is really a good thing. But still, forgetting this is not an option.  

I have to admit, even though this was a notable anniversary, I didn't even think about the day until I finally saw a post on Instagram around 2:00 this afternoon.  Sure, I'd known it was coming, but for some reason it just hadn't entered my mind.  Today was a similar day, weather-wise, to that September day back in 2001, only not as clear and not as crisp, and though I admittedly did not actively think on the anniversary often today, I couldn't let it go without a mention.

Of course, the sentiments that go along with that day will dwindle even more over time, but they should never be forgotten.  In school, our principal always mentions the date and asks any of us who plan to do anything to commemorate the day to share it with him.  Well, the kids in high school today were either babies at the time or not even born yet when it happened, so to them it's not as personal, not as meaningful.

Since my students are all foreign born, they know even less of that sad, sad day, and during one of my early morning periods, they had come to me from their Global Studies class in which they had just seen a video and had an accompanying worksheet to fill out on the event.  They were confused and didn't really understand what they had just been taught.  I promptly decided to forego my own lesson just to talk to them.

I wrote the word terrorism on the board, and asked them to give me words that they thought would fit the definition.  In a bit of sad reality, they were able to come up with some words to fit that heinous tactic: bombs, guns, killing, etc.  I added the word scare and we launched a conversation that began with the recent attacks in Nice and Paris and we worked our way back to 9/11.  I recounted my own memories of that day, from the moment I'd heard a plane had crashed into one of the towers early on to being glued to the television all day and all night.  I choked up a little when I spoke of the heroes on United Flight 93 and knew right then that although my own memories and feelings about September 11th, 2001 had diminished, the feelings were still there deep inside me.  

So if you found yourself in the same place as I today, and you feel like maybe you've lost some of that anger, horror and sadness over the 3,000-plus lives that were lost just fifteen years ago today, then I think you need to relive it a little,  Whether it's by watching a program on the events, or sharing your own recollections with someone who wasn't around and doesn't know.  I think from here on, we're going to have to work to remember...and never forget.   

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