Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. — Voltaire
With time, everything seems to lose its significance. Memories become dusty, sheets are thrown over old events, doors close on what was. Relevance to us resides in the future, the malleable time not yet crystalized in recollection.
Still, that doesn’t mean we should forget what got us to the present.
Twelve years ago, four planes were hijacked and used as weapons, resulting in the deaths of 2,996 human beings. Mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, friends, acquaintances, enemies, strangers.
Humans. Like you. Like me.
I can still recall in the 6th grade when I walked upstairs (when our carpet was still that mustardy yellow) and my mom had the television playing the news. We never had the TV on that early. The house was never so awake in the morning.
At 11 years old, though, and distanced by nearly 3,000 miles, I knew that whatever was happening was bad. That people were hurting. That grief would be as bright as the fires they kept replaying on the screen. But still, it was remote, something happening to other people that weren’t me.
Today, that feeling is becoming more generalized. As time wanders farther and farther away, as new memories replace old ones, as more and more people are born in a world where 9/11 is simply another fact in their history book, the more we smudge away the sharp edges of that day.
But all it takes is one moment, thirty seconds of your time, to close your eyes and remember. To recreate. Reconstruct. Recall.
Just because the date has scrolled up out of view, it doesn’t mean that people aren’t still mourning. Today, people live in a world without a loved one, without a phone call on Sundays, without someone to laugh with over lunch. The world changed for them, and there is nothing they can do to get it back.
When remembering 9/11, don’t just recall all those who were lost and those who lost them, but also those still losing others today. Send out a positive thought, a prayer. The world can never have too much love. Unlike hate or fear, love can always grow and improve, heal and restore.
So don’t just remember 9/11; work to make sure nothing like it ever happens again. Love your neighbor, love yourself, and never forget.