9/11: Eighteen Years Later, A National Tragedy Comes Of Age

Written by Wes Walker on September 11, 2019

If you think it’s hard to believe it’s been 18 years already, imagine how those too young to remember it must feel. We said we would ‘never forget’, but…

We live in a rapidly-changing world, and it’s a world where the perceptions of today impact the memory of yesterday.

One generation is shocked that 9/11 slid so quietly into history.

Move up one generation, and they’re shocked about how quickly we forgot about the Cold War, the very present existential threat of WWIII, and a Nuclear Holocaust to follow.

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A little earlier still and it was perhaps Vietnam, or the Civil Rights Era, or Korea and WWII.

Whatever our feelings, time marches on, and new generations rise up to take the last one’s place. The experiences that shape them differ from the ones that shaped their predecessors; the fears they grapple with, different from what their parents overcame.

And so, on this anniversary of a day that changed the course of history, where much of the world mourned together in tragedy, where we learned of a new threat that had risen up to replace the already-fading specter of the USSR, we learned a militant strain of Islam that wanted us dead was unafraid — happy, even — to be killed themselves in the process of furthering that goal.

A day where we all stood transfixed as two towering buildings smoldered and fell… in real time in the heart of New York City. A day where even the Pentagon had smoke and survivors spilling out of it.

It was a time when we learned the names of new heroes and new villains. We learned to say ‘Let’s Roll’ and we learned the name Al Quaeda.

It was a time before political correctness forbade us to connect violent actions with the ideas and ideologies that animated them. Before CAIR (which, contrary to Ilhan Omar’s lies, already existed) had cowed people into silence lest they get accused of ‘Islamophobia’.

The generation that has risen up since then doesn’t remember that one brief, glimmering day of national UNITY, where Guliani became capital-M Mayor, and Dubya stood at his very finest.

They don’t remember the heroic actions that spared a fourth target in DC from getting slammed with yet another plane. Actions summed up by the two words ‘Let’s Roll‘.

Surprised and dismayed, we ask ourselves how a generation doesn’t feel the same outrage we feel when an elected official dismissed that as the day that ‘some people did something’. But why should we be outraged? Many of them were not even born yet or were far too young to know, to understand, or to remember.

That generation came of age under two Presidents, one who carefully used phrases like ‘Religion of Peace’ to describe Islam, and another who dismissed even EXPLICIT acts of jihadis as motivated by some other factor. Remember ‘Workplace violence’.

Years passed, and we as a nation briefly held our collective breaths, wondering if the reports could be true? Is Osama Bin Laden really dead… and now? Now, many have no idea why that’s even a big deal.

Today, Al Quaeda is rarely named. ISIS is in decline, it’s territory taken back by force.

And life, for many, has simply moved on.

New ideas and new issues have crowded out old ones. The media has captured their imaginations with new threats and new issues, about the dangers of firearms, or the ‘existential threat’ of Climate Change, or even ‘Orange Man Bad’.

We can say ‘never forget’ as often and as loudly as we want. But unless and until we actually DO something about it… until we communicate to the generation that follows exactly what things are important to remember, and (more importantly) WHY, the past will quietly fade away, and be replaced with whatever their culture tells them to view as important to know and remember.

We see Moses grappling with this very same issue — and offering the solution — when he admonishes Israel:

4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

10 When the Lord your God brings you into the land he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you—a land with large, flourishing cities you did not build, 11 houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant—then when you eat and are satisfied, 12 be careful that you do not forget the Lord, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. — Deuteronomy 6

If we’re serious about our intention to ‘never forget’… there’s only one way to make that happen — it’s up to US to tell the story, to bring it alive in their minds, memories and imagination.

Because you can’t really expect them to remember something they’ve never truly known in the first place.

Related:

Here’s what we’re remembering:

And here’s what happens when we forget:

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