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11 September 2013

9/11 leaves us with memories, teaches us lessons

Sept. 11, 2001 is one of those days in history for which everyone remembers where they were, what they were doing and who they were with. I remember I was in the third grade, working on an assignment in the morning with my classmates, when the school principal appeared to deliver to us the shocking news of the terrorist attacks.

Being an observant 8-year-old, I understood the severity of the attacks based on the reactions and chatter from my parents and other adults. However, I could not grasp the full nature of the attacks and its future effects on the ethos of our society.

Twelve years later, I am now much more cognizant than on that September morning in my third grade classroom. Our nation has learned a lot from that momentous day in history. Here are ten lessons and insights I have gathered:

  1. Never forget. Honor the 2,996 lives taken that day, the brave first responders and the ever so valiant military men and women defending our freedoms each and every day.

  2. The changed nature of air travel. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has become synonymous with air travel. Imagine how different air travel would be without those giant full body scanners, removal of shoes and carry-on liquid limits.

  3. Larger government bureaucracy. A topic of debate for politicians and pundits alike, the government bureaucracy has greatly expanded since the attacks.

  4. Our sights are set abroad. More so than ever, world events and happenings are being monitored constantly by our national security teams.

  5. Others’ sights are set on us. America is without a doubt a target for terror, and all must be done to prevent this.

  6. A new era of war. We are fighting a war in a borderless battlefield against an undefined enemy.

  7. The power of Old Glory. One of the most inspiring moments of 9/11 was when the firefighters raised the American flag in the midst of the ruins of the World Trade Center.

  8. Love those around you. The sudden and senseless nature of the attacks gives more reason to hold those whom you care about close  to you.

  9. Hope can rise from the dark. Beacons of light can rise out from the dark no matter the gloominess, as shown by citizens helping one another through that September morning.

  10. United we stand. President Ronald Reagan once said, “If we forget that we are one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under.” The backbone of America cannot be shattered if we stay true to our values and respect one another.

Take a moment for self-reflection on this anniversary. Stay true to our nation’s ideals, respect one another and God bless the United States of America.

Raymond La is a junior majoring in microbiology.