Ten years have passed since the tragedy of Sept. 11, yet is it even possible that so much time has passed so quickly? Is it possible that Mercyhurst’s senior class was in 6th grade, or that the class of 2015 was only in 3rd grade? Do you remember where you were and what you were doing on the moment you learned our country was under attack? Did you even completely understand what was happening?
We’ve all changed and grown in the past 10 years and have experienced the awkward stages of puberty, the memorable (or what some of us wish was forgettable) high school life and now what should be some of the best days of our lives. And though we may not notice it because it is all we’ve known, the country and larger global society has changed dramatically since that crisp September morning when 2,977 victims perished.
We are fighting two wars, we have finally killed the most wanted man on earth and the world’s focus has turned to preventing atrocious acts like these from ever occurring again. We can see the change in longer lines at the airport or more security when entering office buildings or historical landmarks.
One over-arching change within the government is the growth of our intelligence community, which has become arguably more capable than before of protecting our homeland. As one of my Intelligence professors pointed out last week, “How many of you [in the class] would be sitting in this program today if it were not for 9/11?”
If not for the attacks, intelligence may not be the challenging, ever-changing and vitally important profession it is now. This serves as just a microscopic example of how 9/11 influenced each of our futures by changing the world in which we live.
This was clearly a defining moment for our generation. After this moment, we must all remember to never become complacent. We must always remember and honor those who perished and to reunite as “one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” We must not turn on each other because of one’s race, religion or political ideology. Instead, we must embrace differences and show the world that our country remains committed to its ideals of freedom, equality and the belief that each person should be given the opportunity to succeed.
On Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011, we paused to remember the innocent victims who died during their daily routines, their families who will never fully heal, the heroes who saved countless people that day and the troops still fighting to protect our country ten years later.