Saturday marked the 20th anniversary of the horrific terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
For many of us, the images from that morning are seared in our minds, something that will never be lost.
For the current generation of high school students — even some college students — and younger, it is history they didn’t live through, a history they will only get from what we tell them about it.
But whether you lived through it or view it only as history, it should carry a weight of impact with it.
That impact, though, may be fading.
What did you feel after 9/11? How did you respond to those around you?
People often talk about the togetherness, the sense of unity and the love of our nation that was felt in the aftermath of 9/11.
It shouldn’t have taken a terrorist attack to bring those things to the surface, though. And yet those very principals, it seems, are fading just as fast as the memory of 9/11.
We say, “Never forget.” Have we forgotten?
We should care for those around us. Do we?
We should have respect for and love our neighbors, even if we disagree with them or have different viewpoints. Do we?
There are pockets of this love, respect and care, to be sure, but it seems more and more that is being replaced with vitriol. Many feel that if their neighbor is only 99% in agreement with them, then they are 100% against them, and thus, an enemy. There are countless topics to be divided on, as well, and there is virtually no way for each person to be in exact agreement with another.
So does that mean we should all be enemies?
Of course, the answer is no. But we often act that way.
And if that course of action doesn’t change, we may as well be lost as a nation.
That is no way to remember those lost on 9/11.
You can disagree with someone — even vehemently — on a topic, and yet still be good friends with them. Care about them. Love them. A great example of this is the friendship between two late Supreme Court justices, Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who were often on opposite sides when it came to a vote, but were close friends in spite of that.
That is the spirit we once had as a nation, and that we seemingly have lost.
If you disagree with someone, don’t badger them into agreeing with you, then turn and call them a bigot if they choose not to. Choose to respect their position and opinion, even if you disagree with it. Choose to be there for them. Choose to love them — which is to look out for their best interest.
This is just a small piece of spirit of America that we had after 9/11, one that has been lost.
One way to honor the memory of those lost is to regain that spirit.