What remembering September 11th means to me personally is sitting in my 4th grade classroom, thinking that I did not feel safe in my country for the first time. I knew that people died that day, and that our country was under attack, but I did not fully comprehend the weight of that. From my perspective as a 9-year-old, I just knew that something huge had shifted, and the sense of safety and security I had felt in my home and my school was changed. It shook me, but it did not change me to the extent that I am sure it changed many other Americans who were more directly affected.
It is easy to only think about it once a year, on the anniversary, but those people lost on that day were more than just the way that they left this world. They were fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, daughters, sons, and so much more to many people. The harsh reality is, those who knew the 2,977 victims who died on that day live with it every day. It is not something that they think about just once a year. It may not be daily, but they don’t ever forget about that person that they lost. This is what it truly means to never forget.
To never forget also means remembering those who physically survived the attacks on 9/11, but are forever changed with having experienced such a horrific tragedy firsthand. I cannot claim to know the pain of these individuals, but I do know that such an experience is not something that you are not unchanged from. Not all wounds are obvious, but that doesn’t stop them from being important to address. If you are struggling with this pain, it is okay to reach out to someone about this. And if someone reaches out to you, listen to what they have to say – their feelings are valid, regardless of the time that has passed.
Take today as a reminder not to take for granted any day that we are living as citizens of America, and to come together as ONE nation, indivisible – regardless of religion, politics, or any other differences.
By Laurel White | @laurelnwhite92