As I’m scrolling through the Facebook newsfeed, I am quickly reminded that someone, somewhere, is celebrating their Sweet Sixteen birthday. On this day sixteen years ago, such celebrations became voluntarily suppressed. These celebrations involved nothing more than tight hugs and prolonged kisses. It was in the midst of an odd, misfortunate peace that parents would gently finger comb their child’s hair and pray. It was a period of hoping and relentlessly praying to a higher being that their brood will have a long and happy future.
As I scroll through the newsfeed, it is flooded with memes of patriotic gasconades, that we will “never forget.” The irony is……we have forgotten.
I get a kick out of teenagers today. They have the ultimate journey of what lies ahead, to make right out of what was severed, and to help beseech social justice of issues that were so unjust. I just wish they had experienced, when, once upon a time, America became truly united. I wish they had the feeling of such love in the air. Granted, it took an iniquitous act of terror and vulgarity during a pre-emptive polarized era of our country. This was during a time when George Bush (43) was President: the grown ups were occupied with poking fun at his enunciations, spent wasteful, hateful energy with claims that he had stolen the election from his opponent, and fashioned time to construct conspiracy theories as such. Then, 9/11 happened. During that period, Bush 43 stepped in to comfort America immediately, and in the weeks that followed, America adopted a mellifluous attitude. Today’s youth will never get to experience that feeling of solitude. The love that was once in the air became vilely polluted.
No textbook will ever provide even a glimpse of what that day was actually like. I have news coverage from that day recorded on videotape, stashed away in the event I need to reference for historical purposes. To this day, I haven’t reviewed those tapes. Though I am not the best at retaining information, 9/11 is clearly and sadly etched in my memories.
It was an uneasy day from morning to night. When I went to work that day, co-workers were nervous, moody, and restive. They appeared convulsed if approached with anything that didn’t have to do with the concern and safety of our nation. The last place people wanted to be was at work. The only thing on our minds that day was our loved ones, and how badly we wanted to leave at that very moment to hug and nurture as if there was no tomorrow. After all, no one was completely certain if there was going to be a “next day.”
In the weeks following 9/11, I witnessed the country come together as I’ve never seen before. There was no specific social issue that created this peaceful accord. Facebook wasn’t prevalent as it is today, so the trolls weren’t as blatant. There was only one mission, a goal – to create and maintain peace and unity for EVERYONE. People of ALL backgrounds were in agreement of this particular mission: that we will NOT back down, that we LOVE this country, and that we will ALL STAND UNITED.
Then, Donald Trump became President. And now, given recent events, I’m lead to believe that declaration was all for show. Half the country is revolted by the mere sight of the American flag.
Wait – but 16 years ago – ya’ll said we stand united! The Americans have declared that message quite boldly to the rest of the world! We will not back down! We stand united! Did we really mean that at the time, or was everyone drunk with hypocrisy that day?
Now, those admirable sentiments 16 years ago have been discreated with hate, violence, racism, and Facebook (not a fan and not sorry). I was certain the entire country meant what they said about unity, and I wasn’t aware that it was conditional. You let hate and fear get the best of you, and your mind has been tarnished with with fake news and misinformation. I can’t help but wonder what we are going to teach younger generations heaven forbid there is another attack on American soil.
In remembrance of the 9/11 victims and their families. I surely, will never forget……no matter WHO is President.