Remembering 9/11, Even After 15 Years

McKenna Vaughn, Staff Writer

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We’ve heard the stories. We’ve seen the pictures. We’ve watched the footage. We’ve done the research. After 15 years of talking and learning about the earthshaking events that unfolded on September 11, 2001, some would say that we’ve essentially become immune to the horrific reality of what happened. Not only have we gone over the same stories and watched the same videos every September for 15 years, but we’ve also been exposed to more recent crimes being committed across the world. With every incoming news report about terror attacks in France and Belgium, innocent lives being lost to police brutality, and hate crimes reaching an all- time high, we’re becoming less and less sensitive to evil. At this point, we’re used to it.

Does this make us horrible people? Not necessarily. Even the saddest, most depressing story in the world can become boring once you’ve read it enough times. But what about the people who don’t have to read the stories? What about the ones who were in them? Do we not owe it to them to recognize their sacrifice, even if it doesn’t affect us as directly as it used to? The screams, the smoke, the scars- these things will never fade for them. There will never be a day that passes where they don’t remember, and wish they could forget.

The whole world came to a stop that day, as did over 3,000 American lives. Mothers lost their children, wives lost their husbands, students lost their teachers- and the list goes on. How could we ever forget that kind of pain? We thought we never would. In the midst of the rubble and the smoke and the lives of thousands being taken away, we as a nation convinced ourselves that we would never forget.

But wounds heal. Memories fade. Here we are, fifteen years later, making memes and cracking jokes and saying “Bush did 9/11.” What happened? At what point did we forget that 3,000 people lost their lives in the time frame of a few hours that day? When did we forget that our nation was attacked? Was it when we buried the dead, or cleaned up the mess, or rebuilt the surrounding city?

We can’t afford to forget. We can’t afford to let the lives of the people we lost that day fade into oblivion. We have to keep telling the stories, looking at the pictures, watching the footage, and doing the research. By doing these things, and by remembering September 11, the 3,000 people who died that day, in a way,  get another chance to live.