September 11th is not Veteran’s Day
For many of the men and women fighting in this nation’s seemingly endless war, there has been a pride shared in the fact that we were just kids when this war started. Memes of children sitting in front of television screens watching the towers fall and suddenly transitioning into the assaulting warfighter into some village in Afghanistan plaster the internet every year around this time begging the civilian population to thank veterans for their service in the war following, rather than remember the thousands of innocent civilians killed in a deliberate attack on the American People.
Some of you may be upset with the statements made so far in this iteration of the narrative of September 11th, but you most likely are the same individuals posting the memes. Some of you may also use this as a podium to project the idealism of remembering your fallen brothers and sisters who made the ultimate sacrifice in efforts to avenge what was done to our nation. Let me remind you that this is what Memorial Day is for, and while it can be argued for most of us that every day is Memorial Day, I don’t believe that any of our fallen brothers would want their sacrifice to overshadow the deaths of the 2,977 Americans killed sitting in their cubicles, aboard an airplane heading for Los Angeles from Boston, or on the phone with their children before school from their office in the Pentagon.
While the events of September 2001 were no doubt, a tragedy of epic proportion, the argument can easily be made that it was also a uniting force not seen in this country since December of 1941. It brought a nation to a knee and then to a full sprint towards the enemy. Hardware stores sold out of American flags, recruiting offices had lines around the block. United we stand became our nation’s creed once more, and it was one we were going to live by. Our nation’s military was let loose once again on those that sought to do us harm and retribution was going to be found at any cost.
The times of every home in the neighborhood flying a flag and “United We Stand” stickers on the back of every Chrysler Town & Country in America have sadly come and gone since that fateful day and a second generation of warriors is now toeing the line to fight the war on terror. This time next year, there will be young Americans in Afghanistan fighting in a war that they were not alive to witness the beginning of. That being said, I would offer another alternative outlook to all of this. The September 11th attacks gave birth to a generation of warfighters; A subculture of men and women that were born to fight both abroad and in life when returning home. Heroes have been made in these conflicts birthed by terror whose names are now indoctrinated in the history curriculum of the next generation to be sent to fight this war, and there is no doubt that these future warfighters will continue to uphold all of our culture’s proudest traditions. Not only has this war brought a culture of warfighters, but also a culture of driven and dedicated individuals that, upon separation from the military, have gone on to create success for many through the lessons learned in war and military service. Veteran owned and operated companies like Grunt Style have built an entire business model on military structure and operating procedures. Without the 9/11 attacks, the movement of this nation to unite again may never have occurred.
The deaths of September 11th, 2001 were horrible and undeserved, but they were not in vain. This nation rose up and united as one to not only fight a common enemy but also to move forward in prosperity together in the years to come. So, this September 11th let us remember the men and women who died that day and look back in thanks for the opportunity that we all were given because of their deaths. It was an opportunity to fight for this country, to thrive in our return, and for some to make the ultimate sacrifice and live on in our memories forever.
“Bad things do happen in the world, like war, natural disasters, disease. But out of those situations always arise stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things.”-Daryn Kagan