Sep 15, 2009

From the Desk

by Amanda Baker

The eighth anniversary of Sept. 11 was last Friday, and it seems to be the one day of the year (besides Independence Day) that unites the left and the right, the old and the … wait, where are the young people?

Students on campus knew that something was up on Friday. Convocation featured a moment of silence for the men and women who died on Sept. 11, and the speaker was a survivor from the first Twin Tower collapse. His presentation was very powerful, moving more than one person around me to tears.

I heard from one of my friends that some people in her dorm were going to skip Convocation because they heard that there was going to be a commemoration of the Sept. 11 attacks. I heard other people asking what the importance of Sept. 11 was. Both these reactions make me worry about my generation. Many major news Web sites did not even bother putting anything on their home pages to bring attention to the day (Fox News did, for the record), as if one of the most catastrophic days in American history no longer had any news value.

We all should be able to remember exactly where we were when we heard about the first attack on U.S. soil since Pearl Harbor. I was sitting in my ninth grade earth science class, homework all but forgotten as I watched the second tower fall on television with the rest of my class. That day should be burned into the minds of every American, and should be remembered every year September rolls around, just like Pearl Harbor is in December.

Here is my question: have we already forgotten? Why do we want to forget?

Are we really so self-absorbed that we forget about the families who are mourning the loss of their loved ones every year? Do we forget about the firefighters, police officers and volunteers who dug through rubble in the aftermath of the attacks, holding on to the slim hope that survivors might be buried underneath? To forget is to insult the memory of those who died and the legacy of the living American heroes who helped rebuild Ground Zero.

Twitter’s top trending topic last Friday was “Remember 9/11.” Many of my friends’ Facebook statuses reflected their remembrance. I am so thankful that not everyone has forgotten. But as the anniversary hits the 10-year mark, and then the 20, and then the 30, we need to make sure that the memory does not fade with time. It is easy to do, as the stresses of day-to-day life can cloud our memories of the past. But, as Americans, there are some things that we just should not forget.

Contact Amanda Baker at

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