Remembering 9/11: never forget how Americans came together


photo or infographic by Summer Rains

NEVER FORGET. Nineteen years after the tragedy of 9/11. America should honor the men and women who died that day.

On the street level outside it was a stream of chaos: emergency vehicles, people standing in shock, crying, pointing. The smell of burning materials and debris flying in the air was coupled with not knowing what else may be coming to destroy us. Over the next 45 minutes, I observed people letting go from the top of the North Tower, the horror from the crowd and the sound of the victims impacting the surrounding structures was heard over the chaos and emergency vehicles. I felt sick.” – Tony’s account from 9/11 ground zero tour

First was American Airlines flight 11 then United flight 175 then the two towers caved in shortly after. Remembering September 11th is one of the most important things that people can do. Recognizing the terrible events that happened on that day is a chance for Americans to come together as one. For people who were too young to remember or weren’t even born yet, they may have a hard time wrapping their head around this event  but it’s important to never forget the collapse of the World Trade Center.

Countless lives lost, countless workplaces reduced to ash, countless families affected by the fall.  That day 2,977 individuals left the earth, but millions were left with a hole in their lives. Everyone working in the trade center or flying in the planes was someone to someone, a mother, a father, brothers and sisters. It’s no doubt that 9/11 will go down in the history books, and there’re plenty of first hand accounts out there of a person’s experience on the streets of New York or inside the burning Trade Center. It’s up to each individual to read stories or watch videos to remember what went down on Washington Street that day.

For almost two decades, the survivors, the news and even teachers have retold the story of what happened and where they were when the terrorist attacks took place. With traumatic events like this, it’s not hard to recall the when and where but as the years progress, the severity of the destruction of the Twin Towers seems to diminish. The devastation has lost its sting. People have started to forget and students can’t recall the hour that the plane crashed into the 95th floor. The reason history is taught in school is to help people remember the tragedies and learn from the mistakes and now that everyone who was young during the events of September 11th are growing into adults, they should take the lessons learned in the classroom and apply it to this and any future grim disasters. 

In the aftermath there were notable differences in the city. There were the obvious missing buildings and the 100,00 tons of debris that had been taken away from ground zero but there was also something new, a sense of unity. All the New Yorkers were coping with this loss together and the rest of America was by their side. Hundreds of nurses and first responders flooded into the cities to help with the wake of the wounded and children sent letters and drawings to firemen and police officers to show their support. This was a time when everyone came together, it wasn’t every man for himself. People weren’t being selfish, but offering a helping hand and that’s one of the biggest lessons anyone can take away from this. 

Now, Freedom Tower stands tall and proud next to the September 11th memorial and tonight, the lights will shine up in the place of the North and South Tower. People’s stories are being told and their deaths aren’t being forgotten and they have given tribute to their lives. It’s always important to remember, to remember the fallen and the brave and the heroes, everything that the dead suffered through and the survivors lived through. No one should discredit what happened in Lower Manhattan 19 years ago, and no one should disregard the strength that is the American people.