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UNF Spinnaker

Americans must take Sept. 11 lessons to heart

Sept. 11 is a day etched in everyone’s minds. Ask anyone where they were when the first plane crashed in 2001, and you are sure to hear many stories and memories.

The day will not be forgotten by those who lived through it, but the lessons learned can often be tossed among the pile of all the others.

Grief, loss, pain and suffering are emotions that usually override anything else people might be experiencing, and there is a time for these emotions.

The anniversary of Sept. 11 makes us experience these emotions again.

Presidential candidates Sen. John McCain and Sen.Barack Obama ceased campaigning, gathering at ground zero to honor the more than 3,000 people who died.

Firefighters across the country participated in memorials to honor the New York firefighters who died.    Citizens across the nation take moments of silence at three distinct minutes when the planes crashed. Some had more personal connections than others, but all remembered.

However, it is not necessary for someone to carry the grief alongside them every day of the year, but rather, lessons learned from the tragedy.

One of the first lessons Americans learned after Sept. 11 was unity. People gathered with their families, families gathered in their communities, communities gathered together across
the country.

Unity was dominant in the days following Sept. 11, but seven years later we have fallen back to our individualistic norm. We grieve and go on, instead of grieving and taking the lesson to heart.

We need to take the lesson and remember it – live it out.

We can be reminded of the American spirit and determination Sept.11 brought out in us as we saw countless people willing to risk their lives to rescue those in the towers.

Sept. 11 also made many people stop and think about their lives. Tragedy makes people slow down, become quiet and reflect. If only they brought this lesson into their day-to-day lives.

A high-paced life is not all it’s cracked up to be. Taking time to become quiet and reflective can enhance life more than having an extra hour everyone is always wishing for.

It has been seven years now.

The majority of Americans are at the point where the grief doesn’t carry-over to everyday life. But for most, neither do the lessons of unity, determination, American spirit and quietness.

By applying those lessons into the lives we live and urging future generations to do the same, we can make then stronger because of our experience.

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