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Trevor A. Blumberg
Yesterday, I read a disturbing article. It was disturbing not because it recounted the horrific images of 11 years ago, but because it said that Americans have “grown numb” to the wars and the lives lost – almost on a daily basis since the War on Terror began. I found this report disturbing because just 11 years ago, we were united in our commitment to fight back, united in our support for our first responders and Armed Forces, and we mourned together each life lost in what would become one of the longest battles for the American way of life.
This morning, 11 years ago, we were blindsided by a cowardly enemy, an enemy who took the lives of nearly 3,000 innocent people in the worst attack on American soil. Every day since, our servicemen and women have left home to go fight this enemy so that we may continue to live our lives in freedom.
September 11, 2001, was a turning point in American history. Perhaps our enemy thought we would cower in the carnage of their heinous actions. But we did not. In the grimmest of circumstances, America rose up to become an even more remarkable version of herself.
In the moments immediately after the first Tower was struck, first responders stormed the building doing everything in their power to aid those trapped. Many perished that day, but their selflessness became a symbol of what this nation does in the face of adversity.
In the weeks and months following September 11, we mourned the loss of the innocent, and honored the heroes who risked their own lives to save countless others. When it was time to seek retribution on those who carried out these deadly attacks it was our military who stepped forward on our behalf.
For over a decade now they have been taking that fight to those responsible, and in doing so protecting the principles of our democracy. The men and women of our all-volunteer military willingly sign up to risk their lives in order to preserve something much bigger than any one individual.
It has been through the strength and determination of our servicemembers that we once again feel the security we thought had been lost that morning. In our darkest hours, it is our military and first responders who have lifted us up, and reminded us that no matter what challenges we face we will always succeed.
None of us will ever forget what transpired on that September morning and the feeling of vulnerability that we all felt. In that moment we all wondered if we could ever feel safe again – but as only a great nation could do we eventually returned to our normal lives.
But what is not normal for this country is to forget those who have fought, and continue to fight, for us. That is not who are, nor who we want to become. Every servicemember lost on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan had a name, they had a family, they had a smile that now can only be seen again in the photos their loved ones look at each day with both joy and sadness.
Today, of all days of the year, I hope each of us takes the time to learn the name and about the life of that person – be it someone lost on September 11, or in the years since. This is one small way each of us can retain America’s greatness in the very fibers of our own beings.
“Lest We Ever Forget” should have added significance today. For if we forget that morning, and forget to cherish each life lost, then our enemies will have won.