It has been two decades since the tragedy of 9/11, and many are still feeling the pain that came with the two planes crashing into the Twin Towers. I, for one, will never get the images out of my head.
It changed us forever, but we still refuse to live in terror. Yes, the terrorists tried to destroy our way of life, to keep us from rebuilding and getting even stronger, and we refused. This is a nation whose pride and dignity will not go quietly into that good night.
The way we pulled together after the attack was wonderful but not astounding. Americans have always rallied when the chips were down, and we’ve never folded.
Now with their leader gone, the terrorists will have to regroup, and I am sure they will think about how we have not, and never will, give in to their threats. Our politicians can’t seem to get it together on any number of issues, but when it comes to protecting our families and country, everyone ends up on the same side of the aisle.
Sept. 11 is a day of remembrance, official or not. Many memorials, services, and public events will take place across the country. I drove by one university last year that had nearly 3,000 American flags flying on the grounds, one for each victim of the attacks. It was a touching monument, if only temporary, to the loss we all shared.
I have received a number of emails from groups who are trying to make the day “official,” and honestly I’m not really sure what that means. I understand that there are complications and red tape, but it doesn’t take an act of Congress to remind us — only a calendar. If you were alive, you will remember that day, and for those generations to come, we will not let you forget. But how we choose to do that should be left up to each of us.
I think we must find our own way to acknowledge and mourn for our collective loss. Yes, life is different now—in some ways better, in others less so. If you need a reminder, just go to the airport. Still, it is important to know that the bad guys may have made our lives a little less convenient, but we are still proud to be Americans.
There is still much to be learned from what happened ten years ago. And there is much to be remembered. I like to focus on how we came together, but it’s also important to let out the pain that the tragedy caused.
Perhaps you will choose to attend a religious service or a public gathering. You could plant a tree or flowers in memory of those who died. Maybe you want to make a call to the people you were with at the time. Whatever you choose in this moment is the right thing to do. Let your heart guide you, and I am sure you will find a way to embrace all the appropriate emotions this day evokes.
Barton Goldsmith, Ph.D., is an award-winning psychotherapist and humanitarian. He is also a columnist, the author of eight books and a blogger for PsychologyToday.com with more than 28 million readers. He is available for video consults worldwide. Reach him at email@example.com. His column appears Sundays and Tuesdays in the News-Press.