Today is a solemn, bittersweet day for America. On this day 18 years ago, the September 11th terror attacks shook our world and our spirits. I’m not going to dig into the politics surrounding that day, nor will I entertain the many absurd conspiracy theories that have emerged in wake of it. That wouldn’t be fair to the victims of the attacks and the importance of this day in the collective consciousness off all Americans.
Like so many other major events, everyone remembers where they were on September 11th, 2001. I was in school that day. I was on my way to my algebra class when I heard a couple of teachers talking about a terror attack on New York. At the time, I didn’t know what to make of it. I didn’t even know if it were serious.
I was just a kid. Terror attacks weren’t something that happened in real life. They only happened in movies. Even when they did occur, they were never the kind that demolished major landmarks. That all changed when I saw watched it all unfold on TV. To say it left me shaken would be the understatement of understatements.
There aren’t many days in history that most people can say without question that everything changed that day. September 11, 2001 is definitely one of those days. It marked the end of one era and the start of another. It defined the generations that came before and after it. There are kids alive today who have only ever lived in a post-9/11 world. Whether they know it or not, that fateful day will affect them.
The changes we’ve experienced since that day go beyond terrorism, politics, and war. It’s not unreasonable to say that this fateful day changed the course of history. How we see the world and how we go about surviving it changed a great deal. We’re still feeling the effects of that change today, but on a day like this, it’s also worth remembering how far we’ve come.
As devastating as the September 11th, 2001 attacks were, they brought out the best in a lot of people. You don’t have to look far to find stories of real, unfettered heroism that occurred on that day. Traumatic events have a way of bringing out the worst in some people, but in my experience, the better angels of our nature tend to shine brighter on those moments.
Whether you were alive on that day or not, I encourage you to take a moment to remember the events of September 11th, 2001 and honor those who died. If you can, please consider donating to charities for the victims. There are many harsh lessons we can learn from such a terrible event, but the biggest lesson of all is this.
We can and will grow stronger in the face of tragedy.