September 11th: Never Forget


Christopher Bishop, Staff Writer

On September 11, 2001, I was just another first grade student in a small American elementary school. It was one week before my birthday, and, being 6, I was more focused on what I was getting for my birthday than I was about any kind of major world events.

Only when I got home that day—I was not picked up early—did I see on television the event that would shape the majority of my childhood and the vast majority of world politics and society in the years since. I didn’t understand what I was watching at the time, but I knew that my country had been attacked and people from all over the world had been killed by a group of terrorists affiliated with Al Qaeda.

The weeks immediately following the attacks were scary. Living in the state’s largest metropolitan area, 25 miles from a nuclear station, meant that we could have been a target. We weren’t in actual danger, but I think that it was a fear which the whole nation shared with me. Random threats of more terrorism, declarations of war, and the anthrax scare soon after the attacks only served to confuse the nation even more.

There was one thing that we were all certain of though; we would never forget the name of Osama bin Laden, and we would never forget the attacks on our nation.

There is no way that we could have known, back then, that our promise to never forget would be taken to such extremes. Thirteen years later, we have involved ourselves in three wars, spent ourselves into national poverty, and allowed our politicians to use the tragedy as a talking point for whatever sort of new policy they wish to enact.

Imagine if President Eisenhower was still talking about how we needed to be defended from another Japanese attack in 1954. The worst part of all of this is that, by all appearances, we’ve gone back to where we started. Many people feel as threatened by terrorism in 2014 as they did in 2000.

Certainly, another attack like the one on that infamous day 13 years ago is possible, and it may be more possible now than it has ever been in the years since. ISIS has captured very important Syrian airports, and has gained a sizable influence in Iraq—certainly, they are establishing themselves as a force to be reckoned with.

I would do nothing to deny that terrorism is still a very real threat today; I would, however, propose that we stop doing what we are doing to combat it. The TSA is nigh useless, our War on Terror has seen about as much success as the War on Drugs, and our flag-waving attitude towards the situation, while a wonderful sentiment, does nothing but ignore the problem. The United States alone has lost at least 66,000 men and women fighting a war that can’t be won.

Here is the alternative which I propose: instead of bombs, let’s drop food. Instead of drones delivering death to civilians, let’s send drones to deliver water where it can’t be found.  We can’t and never will be able to fight terrorism to its end, because that’s how terrorism works: they attack us, we retaliate, innocent people die in the crossfire, and the families of those innocents blame us.

If we can’t fight away terrorism, then we must stand up to it in other ways. We must show that we are not afraid. We must show that we will not lose sight of what is righteous when we are face-to-face with evil.

This year on September 11, don’t forget. Never forget. Never forget what happened on September 11, 2001. More importantly, never forget to do all you can to prevent such a thing from ever happening again. It’s too late to change the past, but it only takes one person’s change of attitude to start a revolution of peace.