To many of our youngest citizens, 9/11 is just another history lesson.
Sept. 11, 2001.
If you were old enough to remember that day, it’s certainly one you will never forget, not even if you lived five lifetimes.
By early afternoon on the day that became known as 9/11, the country was just starting to realize the magnitude of what had happened. At that point, it was unclear if there would be more attacks.
If you weren’t a member of the military or law enforcement, what could the average person do to help the situation? The events of 9/11 seemed too big and too consequential for just one person to make any significant difference.
Fortunately, the helpless feeling quickly evaporated and many of us began taking action.
Remember the droves of people who answered the call to donate blood to help the injured? How about the tremendous displays of patriotism and unity that swept over our political leaders and citizenry?
It was a memorable response and it showed the power of average people galvanized behind a meaningful cause.
Today, the events of Sept. 11, 2001, already have become foggy for many of our youngest citizens. To many of them, it’s just another history lesson.
In memory of the fallen, let’s do our part to reverse that trend.
First, if you have a person under 18 in your house, make a point of telling him or her about Sept. 11, how we got to that point, who was responsible, and how America responded and changed since that fateful day.
Second, become a more engaged citizen.
Even simple acts repeated many times over by many people will greatly strengthen our democracy — the American way, so to speak — the very thing the terrorists attacked.
One of the simplest and most patriotic things to do is register to vote. After all, September is National Voter Registration Month.
An engaged citizenry is an empowered citizenry, and we owe it to all who died for our country to never take the right to vote for granted.
But as we close this editorial, we also want to remind everyone to stop and take time to remember those who perished on 9/11, as well as the many first responders who subsequently died of diseases resulting from the toxins they encountered at Ground Zero.
If you can’t attend a local ceremony, say a silent prayer during the morning for those who never made it home on a sunny September Tuesday all those years ago.
Show your appreciation to a police officer, EMT, firefighter or member of the military by thanking them for their service.
May God bless them, and God bless America.
— A longer version of this editorial first appeared in the Times Leader of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.