This month, hoards of Long Island students started their first year of high school. Almost all of those new ninth-graders were born in 2001, and they were either infants during the 9/11 terrorist attacks or still growing in their mothers’ bellies.
It’s shocking that we’ve reached this point, since the memories of what happened that day are still tender for so many of us. How can they be 14 years past? But time, as it always has and always will, marched along and here we are.
The kids who are in ninth grade now will be in college in no time, and the professional world after that. They will be part of a generation of adults who will discover new cures for diseases, build new developments in our neighborhoods, create new art to share their feelings about the world we all live in. It’s crucial that we impart to them how significant Sept. 11, 2001, was and continues to be, and how much it changed the world.
There’s a mantra we hear so often that we hope it doesn’t lose its power: Never forget. We say it in particular about the Holocaust and the other horrors of World War II, such as the attack on Pearl Harbor, and it carries a lot of weight in that context because there are so few Holocaust survivors and WWII veterans who are still alive. But it is also appropriate to say in the case of 9/11, this society’s day that will live in infamy.
However, in light of the milestone we have reached, of our children born in 2001 reaching a significant level of maturity and awareness, we would add something to that concept: Never forget, and never stop talking.