Sunday, September 11, 2011

Importance of Remembrance

As you all know, it's the 10th anniversary of 9/11 today.

I hope you don't forget about what happened that day, what we learned, what we suffered, how we united. If you haven't yet, I suggest you go read Meg Cabot's moving, true story here and then come back and read this.

Good. You read it, right? Did you cry? I certainly did. And it inspired me to write this, a tribute to all and everything we learned on 9/11.

9/11 was a terrible day. A beautiful day, but in that agonizing way. Thousands died. The twin towers collapsed, we all know that. But every time a plane flew across the sky, one of the towers jolted, fire spread further, every time horrible things like that happened--we united.

Because, 9/11 is not just a day the United States was attacked. It was a day everyone came together, regardless of anything else. We united and we stood together, we helped each other, we wept with each other, we held on to each other and wished and hoped for each other.

That day, I was still a toddler. I was in California with my mom. My dad called at 5 in the morning from China, tell my mom to turn on the TV. I woke up and watched the TV turn on.

I saw the twin towers falling.

My mom and I thought it was some elaborate Hollywood movie, but no, of course it wasn't. Because suddenly there were people calling and e-mailing and on the news and screaming and it was terrible, but I was still a little kid, I was confused.

Now I can't remember it, only what my mom remembers. What she tells me. But whenever someone tells me about what happened that day, I hurt for them, too, because you cannot erase emotion. You cannot forget despair, but we had hope that day, too. It was that one act, where everyone became one and we all united, truly became the United States, it was that one single movement that brought up buried beneath everything that one sliver of hope. And that hope kept us through.

9/11 is not just a day of terror. It was also a day of hope.

I cried. I cried and I didn't know what was happening, but did it really matter? Because if buildings were falling, to a kid, does that mean our buildings will fall, too? Does that mean we will be crushed to death, devoured by the flames and trapped by the smoke, too?

I didn't know. But I cried.

I still cry.

Today, I want to thank everyone who saved lives that day, everyone who wanted to save lives, everyone who helped. Because it was you that gave us hope and the strength to get back up and grow stronger, better. Your efforts were not wasted. They helped us become who we are today, a nation that, while still at times discriminating, has proven to be able to unite.

Don't ever forget what happened that day. The second you do, you forget those who died. You forget those who helped.

You forget the time we became one, came together.

We are capable of resilience. If we are willing to work together, and we can.

9/11 cannot be forgotten.



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