10 Years Later: Understanding Now and for the Future

by on March 8th, 2015
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As I write this, I realize that 10 years ago, the most heinous act in American history, our history, has occurred. The attacks on 9/11 shows the best of the American spirit and our resilience.

I myself, was only a little child, no older than 6 or 7, only thinking about what I was going to do in my class today. I wasn’t one for the news and tried to avoid it as much as possible. I myself was into music and didn’t understand the events that was going on. As time progressed though, I realized the hardships of the families and friends who have lost their lives on 9/11 and the current consequences in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

I would first like to address the many whom had lost their lives as innocent bystanders or in the attempts to save others and to protect our freedom. In the beginning of that fateful day, some 10 years ago, all of these men and women who lost their lives, had no clue of what was going to happen; all were moms and dads, husbands and wives, sisters and brothers. When the attacks were occurring, the firefighters and police men did not worry about their own personal safety, all they cared about was the safety of others. They all shared a common bond; they were all Americans and they are all human.

In the aftermath, rather than crumble in the tremendous tragedy, we rose up to the occasion and showed the classic American fighting spirit. The one that allowed us to push pass the British for our Independence, and the one that allowed us to continue to move on in the two World Wars. We showed the terrorists that you may push us down, but you can never keep us down.

Now some may point the finger at the government for not realizing the threat sooner, or not taking it seriously enough; or at the authorities for not evacuating the South Tower when the North Tower was first hit. This kind of thinking cannot be hampered on. We think that we could have prevented something like this because of our hindsight bias and our overconfidence, similar to how we think, that during our school days, we should have known the answer after we were told it. The blame should not be pointed here.

In addition, the most ostracized people for the 9/11 attacks are the Muslims, due to the belief that the religion of Islam is a terrorist religion. But on the contrary, Islam itself is not a terrorist religion. The majority of Muslims living in the country and around the world are tolerant and understanding. The minority views of Al-Qaeda and the Taliban should not be made the stereotype for all of Islam.

The values of Al-Qaeda and the Taliban show the dark side of any belief, radical extremism. Rather it is the 9/11 attacks or the recent attacks in Oslo, they are both caused by radical extremists that view attacks on innocents as justified to make a point. Their reasons may be different, but the principle is the same. The hope that the ends will justify the means, rather it is to incite chaos or cause destabilization or another form of change by violence.

One thing that we cannot allow to happen is to allow these extremists dictate what we can or cannot due. If we allow ourselves to live in fear of another attack, or allow others to remove our freedoms as humans and as Americans, we are just playing into the extremists hands.

The key thing that should be learned from an event like 9/11 or any tragic event, is the fact that no one lives forever and how we must cherish everyday like it may be our last. We cannot continue to live in constant fear or allow anyone to destroy our rights to further their own personal agendas with crude beliefs of what is right and what is wrong.

I wish to leave off with a quote from Robert F. Kennedy’s speech regarding Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination on what we should do today, the 10 th anniversary, “Let’s dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago: to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world. Let us dedicate ourselves to that, and say a prayer for our country and for our people.”

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