You should all know what happened on this day in 2001. You should feel it’s weight.
Those who were alive to witness it will always remember that day in September.
It was a day that started normally enough. For me, that meant getting up to go to school – polo-tucked in, hair pushed back with a headband, sneakers tied bunny-eared style. It was just another normal day of third grade.
It turned out differently.
It was something I didn’t understand at the time. It was something I don’t think I will ever understand fully.
My third-grade teacher couldn’t stop crying. My school assembled in the cafeteria. They had multiple televisions playing the latest news footage. I wanted to go home. I didn’t understand.
I don’t think we should sugar-coat it anymore. The United States is a fucking scary place to live. Scarier for some more than others. What happened on this day 15 years ago ignited a frenzy of civil warfare – ignorant die-hard nationalists out to get any Muslim they cross paths with, anyone who covers their head, anyone who worships a god that is not their own, ignoring that from day one this country was established on a foundation of religious freedom. But in all honesty, it had – it has – little to do with God.
However, I am thankful for the conversations that have been had since that day. I am thankful for those whose hearts are open enough to converse with those who are different from them. I am thankful for those who share their honest opinions willingly and frequently, but are still able to listen to that of someone who didn’t grow up on their street, go to their same school, or have their same religious upbringing. I am thankful for those who are willing to be checked when they say something wrong or hurtful, and are able to own it and learn from it. I am thankful for those who check me and educate me from a point of view that I will never have. Because I don’t want to hurt anyone. But I would also not like to stay silent.
I have many friends who are teachers with students in their classes born after September 11, 2001. These students will learn about the events of that day as historical events. Yet, every single day still, these students are living with the repercussions of those events. These students are essential to keeping the conversation alive.
Each new generation is given a history that has moulded every facet of the lives they will live. They cannot change it, but they can move forward. And while history indeed tends to repeat itself, each repetition brings something new to the mix. That makes me hopeful.
And as long as we keep remembering that day in September, I have more hope still.