Recently I took a flight out of the US which left on the evening of September 10. When I arrived in London a couple of people asked me what security was like at the airport, “you know, because of the 10 year anniversay of September 11th”?
September 11th was a tragedy, it is difficult to believe that what happened was even possible. To mark the 10th anniversary, media across the country have been asking people to relive those moments, to remember where they were when they heard about the tragedy, to see the shocking videos played over and over again.
I have been frustrated with the US’s response to the 10 year anniversary. Remembering is fine, but isn’t it healthier to both remember and also learn from the event to move forward as individuals and as a society? I see a lot of remembering, but not a lot of learning happening, or changes that would stop something similar from happening again.
There was a silver lining to September 11th. The heroes of that day, and everyday in the US, are the service women who put their lives at risk. Firefighters, police, health officials, they were there when it happened, they saved lives, they made the situation a little less terrible. So why not turn September 11th into a day to celebrate the service men and women in the US who are never talked about unless something bad happens but who are out there everyday. Why not have a day when on top of the remembering bit you have educational bits, parades, open houses in firestations, whatever it may be to raise awareness and celebrate the work that they do.
Remembering is only half the story.