Sep 11, 2010

Will We Forget 9/11?

For most Americans, September 11, 2001 started out as a day like any other.  People were going to work, people were getting off the late shift, people were starting their daily routines across America.  This day, however, would not turn out to be like any other.  The day would mark the start of changes across our nation and around the world.  Changes would be seen in simple things like what we are allowed to travel in airplanes with and what we are not allowed to travel with to larger things like the war.  It would also be one of the only day's in America's flight history when the sky would become silent.  Planes were grounded from the smallest single engine plane, to the largest airliner.  Only military planes would fly the rest of the day and government planes.  September 11, 2001 turned out to be anything but a day like any other.

 Another day that started normal for most Americans was December 7, 1941.  Again, people went about their daily lives, unconcerned about the war in Europe.  That day would also mark changes across the nation.  People would watch for Japanese ships off the coast, Japanese citizens would be rounded up and placed in camps, and Americans would use slang terms to define the Japanese people.  Before the war was over, retribution would be painful for all nations involved, including the United States, and Japan would see two large cities virtually wiped out by the atomic age.  December 7, 1941 turned out to be anything but a day like any other.

Today, we remember September 11th, but how many of us living will pause and reflect on December 7th?  The generation that lived the day of December 7th is literally passes away in front of us.  Even people who were young children at the time, are now growing older, reaching retirement and often not reflecting too much on December 7th.  On December 7th, there will be some services honoring the day and the lives lost.  Most likely those will center around the Arizona Memorial.  Sadly, December 7th will eventually be left to the historians to discuss, debate, and remember.  The fact is that there are only so many generations that will be affected by December 7th, and those generations are starting to end now.

Because we have seen such dates as December 7th fade into history almost as "just another day" we must find a way to ensure September 11th does not have the same fate.  There are several ways we can do this.  First, we must teach what really happened on that date and what the results were.  Second, we must push our government, including President Obama, to not simply look at this as a day of healing wounds.  Third, we must insist that the true history of the day is honored by the government and passed to each generation.

Obama and his friends in Washington have forgotten one thing about September 11th that we have not.  The war is not over.  The terrorist that organized and constructed the attacks on the United States are still out there and still planning.  The difference now between September 11th and December 7th should be clear.  We won the war that resulted from the attacks on December 7th and it became time to move on; however, we have not won the war that resulted from the attacks of September 11th.  If we do as Obama would like us to do and go on with our lives, then September 11th will quickly be left to the historians to debate and discuss.  We will find ourselves once again open to an attack from our yet unbeaten enemies of terrorist.  After all, we still know about December 7th because most of us know or knew someone from that generation, but how many remember April 12th?*


* oh, in case you're wondering, that's April 12, 1861 and the start of the American Civil War with the first shots fired at Fort Sumter, SC.  The end result was freedom for American slaves at a cost of over 620,000 lives.