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9/11 from the perspective of a teenage girl

Katie Stanley, guest writer

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On Sept. 11, 2001, I wasn’t born. I existed nowhere on this planet. I was born a full nine months after the attacks against our country, but this in no way discredits the events that occured on that day for me, nor should it for anyone else. I believe for many, many reasons, that we should still completely embrace the tragic acts of evil against our United States of America. For 16 years, I have heard countless stories, testimonies, tributes, and have seen the sorrow, anguish, and despair of the families of those who fell that tragic day.

There is no need to sugar coat the nature of this situation. We are forgetting the first armed conflict that occured on our soil since the Civil War. This happened less than two decades ago, these people’s lives should not be forgotten already. I remember growing up in elementary school, spending the entire day talking about the terrorist attacks on 9/11/2001. We would write papers and watch videos. We would talk about why this was bad, enabling students, as young as seven and eight years old, to develop some sort of patriotism, or some sort of sense of belonging, being able to see our country recover from such strife. On this ill-fated day, 2,996 people ceased to walk among us, and thousands more were physically and mentally injured. We cannot let ourselves forget these people, but most importantly, we cannot forget what happened to us, and how we can prevent future acts, not only in our country, but in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and every single other country around the world. Last year, on the sixteenth anniversary of Sept. 11, we discussed it just briefly.  How dare we bind ourselves to a bold phrase of, “Lest We Forget,” when we are doing just that: forgetting. Ever since the tenth anniversary, the acts of brutality and callousness have been seldom mentioned, not just by the populous, but by the news media, and other forms of influence throughout the US, and the world.

I comply with the thought of being a nation that has healed, and the United States cannot let something such as terrorist attacks weaken us. Instead of letting the memories of this day slip into the darkness, let us embody the key fundamentals of national pride and patriotism. Let us remember those who have given us their all, their last breaths, their final words, to let us be free. To let us live and work in the free market, and to live in the industrial, free, powerhouse of a nation I am very grateful to call my home and native land. Let us hold the lessons learned in our hands, and use them as our guidance to our own individual pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness. Sixteen years ago, before most Americans even knew the terrorist group Al-Qaeda existed, we didn’t take our shoes off before going through airport security. We didn’t have the security and safety measures that we have today. Because of what has happened, we are impressively safer. Think of the lives we have saved because of a seemingly tedious act of removing your shoes. Fast forward 17 years—most people do not realize the lasting effects this horrible day has had on our country.

There have been countless acts of savagery and barbarism against the United States of America. In my 16 years on earth, I can recall many shootings, bombings, and gas attacks. Though I was not here to experience the day that 2,977 souls went on to the afterworld, or the 19 hijackers who took their last breaths of cowardice, I was here for the Boston bombings, the Ft. Hood Massacre, the San Bernadino shootings, and the murdering of military personnel in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Though I could not feel the tears America shed that day, I do still feel the ripple effects that this day gave us, 700 miles away, but those ripples are fading, and we cannot let them. Though it is a day gone, it is a day I refuse to forget. The United States is forever United We Stand.

The words “America Will Prevail” are emblazoned on posters, buildings, shirts, hats, stickers, and anything and everything that they could fit on. These three words are our country’s motto. An homage to our strength, our freedoms, and most importantly—the essence of the individual that makes up our country. These three powerful words helped our nation recover from a cut that left us bleeding. But did we lay down and take it? No, we stood and fought. Why? Because an American patriot knows that it is better to die on your feet, than to live on your knees.

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