A little more than six years ago, reciting the date Sept. 11 sounded no different than reciting the dates April 28 or July 9 or Nov. 17. The date September. 11 symbolized nothing more than a crisp autumn day. But after the year 2001, that changed. By no choice of our own, September 11 stood for unprecedented horror, loss and tragedy. It also stood for bravery, strength and unprecedented courage.Every eleventh day of every September since that life-altering one in 2001, the people of this nation and others around the world have mourned the loss of life incurred on Septebmer. 11, 2001.
But this year is different. Six years removed from the terrorist attacks, people are asking the seemingly crass question: How much is too much? Are we over-memorializing the day?
Newspaper editors are finding it a challenge to remember the date in a “unique” way. Television news producers are looking for new angles. There is a good chance the news lead on September. 11 will be something other than September. 11.
This conundrum is not uncommon. While it may be difficult for some to come to terms with, September. 11 will not always symbolize terror, panic and tragedy. After all, most Americans today cannot recall what occurred on Dec. 7, 1941-“A day which will live in infamy.”
The infamy only lasted so long.
Here in West Chester, attendance at September. 11 vigils has gradually diminished. In 2005, a candle light vigil was held in front of Sykes Student Union. A chain-link fence was erected on the grass in front of the building and students placed small American flags in it before leaving the ceremony. Hundreds of students came. Sykes was bathed in candlelight.
Last year, Student Government Association (SGA) held a ceremony in the academic quad. President Adler spoke,as she did a year before, and local police officers and firefighters were present. The only thing lacking was the number of students. About 120 students were present for the memorial.
This year, SGA and the Sykes Union Advisory Board (UAB) are hosting a candle light remembrance in front of Sykes at 8 p.m. It was brought to The Quad’s attention that the vigil won’t be “anything formal with speeches and the like [.]”
It seems too soon to forget about what happened six years ago on the eleventh day of September. We still have men and women fighting and dying overseas. The struggle continues every day for them and the families of the victims of September. 11 and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. We have an obligation to honor these men and women and their losses.
Whether it means coming to a candle light vigil or setting aside five minutes to reflect upon what your freedom means to you, it is of utter importance that you not pass over this date like it is any other.