9/11: Twenty-One Years Later

“Where were you on 9/11?”

For those of us who were witnesses to history, we remember every minute of that day. We can describe in detail every moment and every feeling.

If you put that question to an entirely new generation, they have no answer. They weren’t born.

Just like if someone asked me where I was during the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., President Kennedy or the attack on Pearl Harbor. I wasn’t alive. The generations that were witnesses to those events had an obligation to those who came after them to make those events more than just pages in a history book.

And they did.

9/11/2021 Eagle Rock, Essex County, NJ
A photo I took at Eagle Rock on 9/11/2021

My family would tell me how they felt. What they did. The days of crying. The actions they took. For the men, they told me about their time fighting in World War II. They made it a living history. And I thank them for it.

We now have that same responsibility for this generation and the ones that continue to be born. They can’t know 9/11 as just pages in a history book. There’s an oral history that needs to be shared. Those emotions, as painful as they may be, must be shared. We have an obligation to keep it a living history, just as the generations before us did for those critical moments in our nation’s history.

Tomorrow I am meeting a few colleagues at the 9/11 memorial in Morris Plains where our company used to stand. It is in memory of two of our colleagues and the sister of another colleague who all perished on that day. The company is sadly long gone, but the memorial remains. We are making a conscious decision to not forget. To meet in our sadness and remember. It makes me wonder how many small memorials like this there are around the country. Every year when I visit if there is someone nearby, I ask them, “did you know there’s a 9/11 memorial here? No? Let me show you.”

9/11 Memorial, 301 Gibraltar Drive, Morris Plains, NJ
The 9/11 Memorial at 301 Gibraltar Drive in Morris Plains.

So if you were a witness to one of the darkest days in American history, take the obligation to pass on your personal experience and impressions of the day to those who weren’t alive or were too young to remember.

Don’t let this day just turn into a date on the calendar or a page in a history book. We owe it to those who lost their lives on that day and the countless first responders who have lost their lives since that day due to illnesses related to their work at Ground Zero.

We promised to Never Forget. Take that promise seriously.

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