Today the United States of America once again pauses to take a moment to remember the events that reshaped the world on September-11-2001. Hard to believe that it has been 18 years since the purely evil events of that day unfolded. Yet here we are at another anniversary as time marches on.
Most of us will take to facebook and recount “where we were” when the planes struck and what an awful, tragic day that was. We will accompany those posts with memes that say “Never Forget” and then move on to September 12th and live our lives until next year. Which is of course what those who sacrificed their lives and those who were murdered would have wanted for us.
Let me very blunt here though.
We are forgetting and it is showing.
Here are some examples why…
On June 11th 2019 Luis Alvarez went before Congress to talk about the 9-11 victim compensation fund. Alvarez, a retired New York City Police Detective, and 9/11 first responder was there to plead for reauthorization of funds before a House committee.
Here is part of what he said according to Time…
A little more than two weeks before his death, Alvarez – who was visibly very ill and thin – traveled to Congress and testified before the House Judiciary subcommittee, urging legislators to extend the fund.
“You made me come down here the day before my 69th round of chemo and I’m going to make sure that you never forget to take care of the 9/11 first responders,” he said. Comedian Jon Stewart testified shortly afterward, chastising Congress for taking years to make the program permanent and condemning the legislators who failed to show up to watch the first responders’ testimony.
At Alvarez’s chemotherapy appointment the following day, medical providers determined that his liver was failing and causing disorientation. Alvarez decided to enter hospice care shortly afterwards.
This hero died 18 days later.
You might have heard about this man and his colleagues going to Congress to ask for this without assistance from someone famous.
You DID hear about it because Jon Stewart had a meltdown, verbally undressing those elected officials for once again dropping the ball of simply keeping a promise. I know some reading this might have thought that Stewart did a bit of an acting job that day, well good for him if he was. He was at least ACTING as he cared on a day that was not Sept-11.
How does a nation that is saying “Never Forget” once a year allow our elected officials to forget those that responded first to these tragedies? They literally saved hundreds if not thousands of lives while giving up their own either on that day or a little bit each moment since, like Detective Alvarez.
“Never Forget” I guess does not apply to the still broken immigration system that this country has 18 years later. This has nothing to do with a wall but how we make sure that those that come here legally, stay here legally. Five of the 19 hijackers were here illegally when the planes flew into World Trade Center One and Two, The Pentagon and Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
According to National Review…
Did you remember that five of the 9/11 hijackers — Mohamed Atta, Marwan al-Shehhi, Hani Hanjour, Nawaf al-Hazmi, and Satam al-Suqami — carried out their killer plot after overstaying their visas, evading detection, and avoiding deportation?
Did you remember the other radical Muslim members of the Terrorist Visa Overstayers Club? They include 1997 New York subway bomber Lafi Khalil; 1993 World Trade Center bombers Mahmud Abouhalima, Mohammed Salameh, and Eyad Ismoil; 1993 New York landmark bombing plot conspirator Fadil Abdelgani; convicted Times Square bomb plotter Faisal Shahzad; and U.S. Capitol bomb plotter Amine El Khalifi, whose visa expired in 1999 and who escaped Homeland Security’s notice for 12 years before he was arrested in 2012 — just blocks from the Capitol building donning what he thought was a suicide-bomb vest.
Maybe we forgot.
How about the war in Afghanistan?
The reasons for going into that war were justified. The Taliban were harboring those that trained and plotted the attacks on America that fateful day. President Bush 43 was able to explain that clearly when the United States military invaded in early October 2001.
Now, 18 years later can anyone explain what the mission is and how we “win” this longest battle America has ever been in?
We have paid a heavy price according to Washington Post…
The conflict had left 2,400 U.S. service members dead and more than 20,000 wounded; more than 145,000 people in all, including Afghan military, police and civilians, have died, according to a 2018 report from Brown University’s Costs of War Project; America has spent $737 billion on the war.
This doesn’t include the calculation of dealing with the long term effects of those who served in this conflict and the one in Iraq. They need our support just as much as those who stormed the towers on that clear Sept morning almost two decades ago.
Next year we will have High School seniors graduating in the United States of America that were born AFTER the attacks of 9-11. What that means is that the horrible events of that day will only be a recorded event for them much like Pearl Harbor or the Kennedy assassination was for us. Simply saying “Never Forget” will simply be an empty slogan for them unless those of us who watched those terrible events unfold that day make it mean something to them.
We need to be honest with them about what happened on that day and what has happened since.
We need to teach them that anyone with a badge or uniform is not automatically the enemy but people that deserve our respect.
We need to reinforce that there is evil in the world and ignoring it and hoping it goes away will only encourage it to thrive.
We need to teach them that “Never Forget” is not something we should not only do once a year but consistently throughout the year. We should teach them this by doing it ourselves and showing by example not just by a Facebook post stating where you were for the 1000th time.
We need to ensure that those who rushed into the buildings and the regular folks who were thrust into horrifying circumstances and sacrificed themselves to save others are never forgotten.
Truly, Never Forgotten!!!!
Todd Beamer who was a passenger on United Flight 93 that crashed into Pennsylvania on this day along with some of the other passengers on his flight decided to storm the cockpit and stop their plane from being used as a weapon. Beamers last words as he was talking to a sky phone operator was “Let’s Roll” and he and others saved many lives while giving up their own.
If we do not fight the apathy that is creeping into the remembrances of what this day means during the other 364 days of the year, this country will turn Beamers last words into “Let’s Not” or “Who Cares” and that means, we will ultimately have forgotten.
So let us ban together to “Never Forget” so that “Never Happens”.