Having lived in Washington, DC on September 11, 2001, and seen the smoke rise from the Pentagon after it was attacked ensures I will never forget the significance this day holds. It serves as an excellent reminder to appreciate those around you who you love because you never know when they might be gone. It’s also a great opportunity to thank all who serve in the armed forces and those working as first responders for the sacrifices and danger they endure in protecting others.
With 14 years having passed since this fateful day, what gives me pause is the lack of attention the general public continues to give our political process, the endless infighting between political parties, and the polarization special interest brings to every issue and every campaign. You see public attitudes slipping again into a pre-9/11 mindset. There is a lack of focus on what truly is important, and that once again makes our country vulnerable to attack.
The idea behind the mantra of “Never Forget” is two-fold. For those who lost loved ones in the 9/11 attacks, it’s about not allowing the memory of those who are no longer with us to fade. That’s a lesson we all should practice, whether you knew anyone impacted or not. Secondly, “Never Forget” has to do with keeping a sharp eye, and not letting a similar tragedy be perpetrated again on U.S. soil.
That is a responsibility bestowed upon all American citizens, and one that requires work, courage and sacrifice. Our political process is far from perfect, but not participating weakens the country and allows the very few to govern the many, and when that happens mistakes get made.