Today is a day of mixed feelings in the country that I’m from. September 11th, 2001, we lost 2,996 people at the time of the attacks. 2,977 victims and the 19 hijackers. 372 foreign nationals died in the attacks. The immediate deaths include 246 victims on the four planes, 2,606 in New York City in the World Trade Center and on the ground, and 125 at the Pentagon. Around 292 people were killed on the street by burning debris and falling bodies of those who had jumped or fallen from the World Trade Center’s windows. All the deaths in the attacks were civilians except for 55 military personnel killed at the Pentagon. Additionally 1,140 workers have been diagnosed with cancer, caused by toxic smoke on that day.
Those are the facts. Yet, when one would only assume sadness, or depression, or anger was an appropriate reaction, we rose up. As a country, we took care of each other. We huddled, consoled, prayed, fed, patched, and rebuilt. From a pile of rubble we rose. And despite your political leanings, America looked good that week, month, year, and years to follow…because I’m not talking about the work of any president, congressman, or representative. I’m talking about the hard working citizens, and non-citizens, that dug deep to find something stronger than hate, stronger than sorrow, and stronger than despair.
Today we remember to Never Forget. 12 years later, we have done just that. We haven’t forgot. Still, I am weary of the choices we now make in the name of a tragedy that struck us twelve years ago. When we say that we will “Never Forget,” do we mean the attack, or do we also mean the lessons we learned from the attack? Can we truly have one without the other? I hope and pray that America can one day be a country that I can once again say I am proud to be from.