We hear it all the time. “Never forget 9/11!” But I don’t know that I’m climbing aboard that bandwagon.
The same has been said about Pearl Harbor and the Holocaust. And plenty of people have tried to keep that memory alive, but I don’t think I can ever understand those events he way my parents and grandparents do. I can’t really be part of it the way those who lived through it can. And of course I can’t experience the way those who didn’t live through it — or who lost family — did.
Last night I spent quite some time discussing 9/11 with my 15-year-old daughter, Monica. She was only four when it happened. She doesn’t remember much as all. She asked me a bunch of questions and was very interested. But she’ll never understand it the way I do.
I think it’s normal that her generation won’t get the impact as those who were adults. Just as I’m sure I don’t understand the Holocaust or any other historic barbarism. In fact, I think it’s healthy. Can you imagine living with an entire world history of destruction and atrocity in the present?
What we should keep alive with the younger generation is how precious and precarious freedom is. I think that is the point, isn’t it? There are so many who sincerely believe atrocities “can never happen here” — even though they can see such atrocities all over the world. The believe we are somehow immune to the consequences of unwise choices. It’s astounding and naive.
One of the oddest things is to see how easily people — of any political persuasion — will give away crucial freedoms for some kind of “security” or freebie.
We need to recognize what principles made America great and what principles will keep her great. They are they same principles.