I know it is unpopular to think this way, but I cannot help but wonder what real value there is in “never forgetting” a tragic incident. 9/11 is my generation's Pearl Harbor. We were attacked for sure. Our government has the responsibility to pursue justice and combat terrorist forces in the world, but what value do I personally gain by reliving the evil memories of what took place? If you have been personally effected by this event, the loss of a loved one is a terrible memory no matter the circumstances. For those people these events are significantly more potent, and they will truly never forget. For me, however, removed from any personal loss, I look at the events of 9/11 and see a different picture.
If you remove yourself from the emotional responses and look at the facts only, there were 2,800 innocent lives lost and a major economic cost. To put that into perspective, an estimated 6,000+ people die every day in America normally. Even worse, over 3,000 more innocent lives are terminated every day in America's abortion clinics. If you are like me, you are fighting inside yourself right now. “Every life is precious,” you say, “and every life taken by evil is something to grieve over.” But in perspective, we put up with as much evil every single day in this country as we did on 9/11 without the emotional response that you see on a day like today.
So what truly drives the “Never Forget” ideology? What is the emotional response to a tragedy that sends people to facebook and twitter with moments of silence, and proclamations of unending response?
Is it Patriotism?
There is certainly a lot of patriotism surrounding 9/11 and the subsequent war on terror. I have to assume that this emotion is definitely a part of the “Never Forget” response. There is a healthy amount of patriotism to have. Remembering our citizen's generosity to charities is an example.
Is it fear?
In the early response, fear ruled. This, of course, was the terrorist's goal. People are paralyzed by fear. The entire countries air industry was destroyed by the fear that was caused. I remember watching Dick Clarks' Rockin New Years Eve 2002 worried the whole night that an explosions was imminent. Fear is powerful. And it is healthy to a degree. Fear motivates us to be safe. If our goal in never forgetting is to stay vigilant against evil through awareness, then perhaps that can be of value.
Is it Hate?
My greatest concern is that hate drives our desire to “Never Forget.” Make no mistake: Muslims did this. It was a religious act in their “holy” war. Acknowledging that fact is not hateful it is fact. Harboring resentment and bitterness toward those responsible is. Being inflammatory in your conversations is hate-mongering. Unfortunately many comments made today were made in this manner. It takes “Never Forget” from a position of positive reflection on the response to evil to negative reflection toward evil.
Is it prejudice?
Does the hate we have drive us to be suspicious of ever Muslim we come in contact with? When we see women in the stores wearing a hijab do we second guess them as potential terrorists? Are we going to be treating Muslims like two generations ago treated the Japanese? Are we going to think about Muslims the way Vietnam vets think of the Vietnamese? In those cases, there was a specific race. In this case it is a religious group, but the response is the same. Prejudice.
For most people, I'm sure there is a mixture of the above. For me it was. I have found over the last ten years that my responses are changing. Please read this in all humility, but I would rather be filled with love and care for others then for justice. I would rather see the good in a situation, then the bad. I am not always this way, but I am coming around, and I believe it to be the 'better' response. I understand the “Never Forget” sentiment as a whole, but there are aspects in my own response to this tragedy that I would rather forget.