September 11: A date That Will Be Forgotten.

(Our annual post on 9/11. Sadly, if anything, we see this being more and more true.)

On this day 18 years ago, the United States was attacked by a group of radical Islamists who hijacked multiple commercial airliners. The terrorists successfully crashed two planes into New York’s World Trade Center’s Twin Towers, bringing them down in a spectacular image that most anyone alive will forget. At roughly the same time, another hijacked plane was crashing into the Pentagon just outside of Washington, DC. The final hijacked plane was brought down by passengers in an open field in southwest Pennsylvania before it could hit its intended target of another building in Washington D.C.

As we always have done, Americans rose from the ashes of the fallen towers, the damaged Pentagon and the wreckage of planes to rebuild and strengthen our resolve against those who would seek to harm us and our freedoms. If nothing else, we do this for the memory of the over 3,000 people who were killed on that day.

Today, across the country, there will be speeches in remembrance of 9/11. There will be moments of silence. There will be calls for unity and peace hers in the US and around the world.

There will be people who will say we will always remember 9/11.

Sadly, the call to remember 9/11 won’t be realized – at least not for long.

We could be wrong, but we have history on our side.

It seems that generations always have defining moments within them – moments that leave an indelible mark on the conscience and psyche of those living at the time. While those living at the time seek to pass down the importance of that moment and when it occurred to succeeding generations, as time passes the memory fades and doesn’t seem to be important to younger generations.

Want proof?

During the 1960’s, four men who arguably defined America and the Civil Rights movement were all assassinated. Can you remember the date when President John F. Kennedy was shot and killed in Dallas? When Bobby Kennedy was killed in Los Angeles? When Malcolm X was killed in Manhattan? Can you remember the date when Martin Luther King Jr was shot and killed in Memphis?

We were talking to a group of high school teenagers the other day and we asked them when the attack on Pearl Harbor starting America’s official involvement in World War II was.

None knew the date.

Many years ago of “Remember the Lusitania!” echoed across the country. The sinking of the liner alleged to have been carrying munitions launched the US into World War I. Can you remember what year that was?

How about the explosion and sinking of the USS Maine in Havana Harbor which threw the US into the Spanish American War amidst cries of “Remember the Maine! To Hell with Spain!” Do you know the date the Maine blew up? How about the year?

Try this one: when was President Abraham Lincoln assassinated? The event threatened to reopen major conflicts between the North and the South as well as cries for punishment of the South following the Civil War. Can you remember the day? The year?

Many people can remember the date of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, but most get the year wrong. We won’t even ask or bring up the Battles of Lexington and Concord that arguably started the American Revolution and the road to American independence.

Sadly, we are a nation of “forgetters.”

Maybe it is the passage of time or the passing of people, but it seems every time that we vow to “remember” or “never forget” some event we do the opposite. We don’t remember and we forget.

It may seem like a trivial thing to some, but what we are essentially saying is that unless we know, remember and reflect upon where we have been, we can’t know where we are going.

So today while people will pledge to remember and talk about the day terrorists tried to destroy this country in 2001, we suspect that in 50 years, a child and their parents will stand in front of a 9/11 memorial and when asked by the child “what happened on 9/11?” neither parent will know.

That’s not exactly fulfilling the promise we have made to remember 9/11 and all the days and events before it.

There is no one to blame for that failing than ourselves.

History doesn’t live in a book.

It lives in our hearts and minds.

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