Today marks eight years since the horror of Sept. 11. We continue to commemorate the attacks that claimed the lives of some 3,000 Americans – but for how long?
How many people remember the anniversary date of Pearl Harbor? Dec. 7 has been relegated to the history pages. Sept. 11 is still fresh in our minds and the evidence of the day still exists in New York, where construction moves slowly on the Freedom Towers.
What about in 10 years?
For the sake of argument let us assume bureaucracy is pushed aside and the Freedom Towers are soon completed. The physical scars of Sept. 11 will be no more. For the families of the victims and those wounded, however, the memory of that day will last the rest of their lives. We should not allow them to bear that weight alone.
One area that we must address is the continued care for the emergency responders from that day. Many still suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and myriad illnesses from inhalation of fumes and debris.
As the country’s health-care debate moves forward, we urge our leaders to remember the heroes of Sept. 11. These brave men and women put their lives on the line for their fellow Americans and we must not forget their sacrifices. Like our honored veterans, these heroes should receive the full support of the American government as they deal with the health issues incurred from that day.
As for the anniversary itself, we should not allow it to slip into obscurity. Sept. 11 was a reminder that we must not become complacent about our freedoms. There will always be bullies in the world who want to take away what we have. And we can see in history books how quickly free societies can become dictatorships.
Passover marks the exodus of the Jewish people from Egypt and Shavuot celebrates receiving the Torah, the defining moments of the Jewish people. Similarly, July 4 marks the birth of America.
Purim and Chanukah celebrate the Jewish people’s willingness to fight to remain a unified people. After Sept. 11 Americans united as they hadn’t in decades. Whatever our differences and disagreements, we should strive to remember the unity we shared then and carry it forth in the future.