Never Forget

As the Nation remembers the nineteenth anniversary since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, ceremonies look different this year. Many citizens are upset and repulsed by actions made by ceremony organizers, to honor those lost, but also keep people safe.


Photo by Willem-Jan Huisman on Unsplash

At the 9/11 memorial site in New York, a name is marked with a white rose to honor their birthday.

On September 11, 2001, around three thousand innocent civilians were killed in a terrorist attack. Children lost parents, spouses lost husbands and wives, and parents lost children.

This September 11, 2020, we put our worldwide crisis on hold to honor and remember those lives that were lost on that terrible day.

As a symbol for the unity and freedom of the United States, the American Flag also stands for honoring and remembering brave heroes and people. (Olivia Brown)

This year marks nineteen years since that horrible, unforgettable day. While this year looked a little different with coronavirus, it didn’t stop the nation from gathering together to mourn those America lost. According to the article by New York Daily News, citizen Karen Swift, stated, “We still have to remember. The whole country is going downhill. It’s one thing after another, and now with COVID. I’m glad they’re still having this, though.”

This year, the names of those who died were spoken by previously recorded messages, because speaking wouldn’t be audible by listeners. However, this caused an uproar because it was seen as disrespectful. According to the article written by New York Daily News, previous mayor, Rudy Giuliani, of New York stated, “I find it disgraceful that their names are being recited and pre-recorded.” While many felt this way, others thought it was necessary to protect citizens, but still respect those lost. The 9/11 memorial museum was originally not going to have an event, but soon revised that plan after the upset it caused. People attending the service were asked to distance themselves and wear masks, but some didn’t follow these guidelines. In addition, a ceremony was held in remembrance of a New York Firefighter who passed away while trying to rescue those trapped in the tower.

Another tradition that was abandoned because of the pandemic was the lights that shine, resembling the twin towers. 9/11 museum representative, Michael Fraizer, told the New York Times, “The world’s beloved twin beam light regrettably will not shine over Lower Manhattan as part of this year’s tributes, after concluding the health risks during the pandemic were far too great for the large crew.”

There lies lights that shine every night in honor of those lost. This year, because of the pandemic, it’s too risky to light up the sky on the 9/11 memorial. (Photo by Matteo Catanese on Unsplash)

While remembering those lost on that day, we also remember stories told by loved ones, heart-wrenching phone calls, and different visual perspectives of the attack.  Jennifer Jewett, who worked in Sodexo in Lower Manhattan at the time, stated; “I could see the towers visibly from my office window, everyone was confused as to why this was happening. My daughter called me, hearing the news from California. She asked if I was okay, and if I knew of anything. When the second plane hit the south tower, I knew that this was on purpose, but we didn’t know who would do something like that. We were all fearful that more planes would come and hit buildings around the tower, and we were a big target. It was terrifying and we felt helpless for all of those people.”

Tiffiny Brown, who was eight months pregnant at the time, recalled, “Living in California, we were too far away to really know what was happening. We were so scared and sickened by what had happened. As was everyone else in America. When the first plane crashed I thought it was a horrible accident. Then, when the second tower was hit, I knew this wasn’t an accident. I thought to myself, what am I doing bringing a child into this world?”

As the information was being broadcasted live all over the world, people were shocked and saddened. Many remember it similarly to the December 7th, 1941 surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. Remembered as “a day that will live in infamy,” as President Franklin Roosevelt said in his famous speech afterward.  9/11 is a day America will never forget.

While this day will always be remembered for its sickening events, good, unity and lessons came out of this tragedy. According to the article by History, “Nearly 36,000 blood units were donated to the New York Blood Center after the September 11th attacks. Lines to donate blood at Red Cross offices and other blood banks were incredibly long–there was an entire day’s wait in Madison, Wisconsin. New and established charities raised money for the victims and rescue workers.” America was coming together, and working together, to honor those lost. Also, safety precautions were set in place at airports. According to an article by PBS, “Two months after the attacks, Congress federalized airport security by passing the Aviation and Transportation Security Act, which created the Transportation Security Administration. Prior to 9/11, security had been handled by each airport, which outsourced to private security companies.” This made citizens feel more protected at the time, and would go on to improve the future safety of air travel.

The world will forever be impacted by September 11th, 2001. Although painful, it is a day we should always remember to respect and pay homage to all the lives lost. On September 11, 2020, we stop our lives, whether we were consumed in politics, supporting the Black Lives Matter movement, fighting the coronavirus or protecting ourselves from the wildfires in California, and we think about the 2,977 lives that were lost. We remember because we need to pay tribute to those who lost their lives, and educate others on those events. We know that for at least one day out of our whole year, America will be paused, silent, humane and united. Therefor we will continue to be, every coming year on September 11, 2001.