“Today, our fellow citizens, our way of life, our very freedom came under
attack in a series of deliberate and deadly terrorist acts… But they have failed. Our country is
strong.” – President George W. Bush, Sept. 11, 2001.
Those words, spoken by President Bush to a nation in despair and distress after Osama bin Laden’s attack on New York World Trade Center, The Pentagon and in Pennsylvania, brought about immense acts of kindness between Americans.
The day following the attacks, many will recount that it appeared race, gender and ethnicity didn’t matter, yet there is a good portion of the American population who either barely remember 9/11 or hadn’t been born yet. The Class of 2020 is the first graduating class that was not alive for the events of 9/11.
Besides being one of the first major events to receive mainstream press attention, not everything has to be ‘just another event in history’. Americans rallied together to save those who became trapped in the burning towers, and ultimately lost their lives in the effort. More effort has been put into preserving the memory of the day, including the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, countless documentaries and innumerable moments of silences.
The reason that we shouldn’t stop teaching about 9/11 is the influence it had on America’s daily life. 9/11 changed airport security measures, it changed the perception Americans had on citizens of other countries, especially those from the Middle East. 9/11 isn’t just a memorable day, it’s a turning point in American history. It marked the end of the America that people had come to love, an end to America’s naivety.
That’s why we keep teaching 9/11 as an important event, to show the impact, preserve the memory of those who died because of another person’s hate, and to remember that there was a time in history when we put aside our differences to mourn after a tragedy.