Always Remember

by - September 11, 2010

September 11, 2001

Nine years ago today, four planes were hijacked. Two crashed into the World Trade Center's twin towers in New York City. Another crashed into the Pentagon in Arlington, Va. Passengers on the fourth attempted to regain control of the aircraft, bringing it crashing down in a field in Shanksville, Pa.

Some 3,000 people lost their lives in those attacks. And the world as most of us knew it changed.

I can remember that day like it was yesterday. Nine years isn't really that long of a time period, and when you're young [teenage to early 20s] the passing of time seems so much faster than it actually is.

I was in 9th grade, 14-years-old. The announcement was made during first period -Leadership Skills. The towers fell during third period -Horticulture [I had a weird schedule that year]; class was pretty much canceled while we gathered around the t.v.

I'm sure every American who's old enough to remember that day can remember what he or she was doing. You don't forget something like that. But what we were doing isn't what we should all be remembering.

We should be remembering the act itself, the lives that were lost, the bravery that was displayed by those who risked their lives to save all those survivors.

And while we remember that day, we shouldn't do so with hate.
I'm sure by now you've all seen, read or heard about the pastor from Florida who planned to burn Korans today in response to the proposed building of an Islamic community center two blocks away from Ground Zero.

Now, I understand that building a mosque that close to the site of a terrorist attack carried out by Islamic extremists is like a slap in the face to survivors and the families of those who died, but Islam as a whole does not operate that way. In fact, it's a peaceful religion that happens to be much older than Christianity.

The United States was founded on a principle of freedom. Included in that freedom is the freedom of religion. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the exercise thereof.

Currently, Rev. Terry Jones of Gainesville, Fla., has postponed the Koran burning. Today he is in New York meeting with the Imam to discuss the possibility of relocating the community center.

If you ask me, all of this is ridiculous. Should we as a nation condemn an entire religion because a handful of extremist terrorists decided to target us? Should we fight hate with more hate?

One day I hope we can look back on September 11, 2001, and see the progress we've made as a people. I hope that on that day we will all have come to realize that we're more than the borders that separate us, the religious books we draw hope from or the languages we speak. I hope our history teachers will tell our children's children that the hatred that led to and rose from that day eventually dissipated. And I hope that we, as people, will no longer fight hate with more hate.

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  1. Ditto to everything you expressed here, Ashton. Thank you!

    It's ironic that you were 14 and in the 9th grade when the 9-11 horror unfolded. I was 14 and in the 9th grade the day that President Kennedy was assassinated. I remember that day vividly as well as the surreal events that took place later that weekend with the shooting of Lee Harvey Oswald by Jack Ruby captured live on television. I also recall exactly where I was and what I was doing when Senator Bobby, Doctor M.L. King and John Lennon were assassinated. Monumental tragedies like these burn into the soul like a branding iron and leave an indelible mark.

    Nearly as disturbing as the events themselves is the realization that misguided individuals like that Florida preacher can command so much media attention and exert so much power and influence that their words and actions could literally change the course of history. It serves to illustrate that one person can indeed change the world for better or worse.

    Many thanks, Ashton, for offering us a beautifully expressed and thought provoking article on this difficult day.

  2. Thank you so much. Your comments this past week have been extremely appreciated!

  3. I'm honestly the last person who should comment about this. If I say one word, it might be considered treasonous, so I'm just not going to. You know how my liberal self is...

  4. lol Christina. I was just trying to point out the ridiculousness of people's recent actions.