September 11 tribute

by Victoria Nguyen

Seemingly I have a lot to say this week, but this week has been filled with a range of emotions. I guess every week is, but this one in particular holds a memory that means so much to me, and probably so many others. Thirteen short years ago, our country was rocked on its heels by a horrific sequence of terrorist attacks. Today we remember all who suffered and continue to suffer from that terrible day 13 years ago.

I consider myself one step off from being the ultimate patriot. I say this because I have every bit of love and gratitude for this country but I don’t think I could do the whole military thing. That takes a special person, and to be completely honest, I don’t have the strength to deal with everything our military personnel encounter. They are the true heroes and patriots of this country and my personal idols. I love this country and ever since I was old enough to truly understand the intricacies of September 11, I have become fascinated by every single aspect of that event.

Although it is important to reflect and ponder over the negativity of that historic day, as I still do every year, I also think it’s important to enjoy and carry on the legacy of the positive lessons the heroes of today have taught us. The fallen showed us what it truly means to be an American. They helped each other to their last breath and carried out their last acts for someone else with every intent to help them survive. One thing that came out of that horrible day that I wish people would remember and use today is, come together as one united front. It shouldn’t take something bad to happen for people to want to help their neighbors or lend a helping hand.

Maybe we could prevent something like this from happening again by being there for each other. I try every day to take every opportunity to help those around me, whether it be holding a door or saying hi to stranger. Sometimes I get angry to see how ungrateful people can be about things, but then I remember how many other people appreciate what I do. I want to help create a new generation that strives to better the world they live in by becoming a more selfless bunch. I think that the people who died 13 years ago would agree that our freedom shouldn’t be taken for granted.

Every September 11, I reflect on the events of the day. I watch all those depressing documentaries and specials on the History Channel. Some people might think that what I do is sad or even pathetic, but I see it as a way to re-connect with the individuals involved. I often put myself into the scene by imagining what it was like to be standing around the towers, or the Pentagon, or even that field in Pennsylvania. I think about what their last thoughts were and imagine them thinking about their families. My heart is so full of love and sadness when I think about having to deal with the uncertainty of whether my loved ones are going to come home later.

This September 11, I find myself in totally new surroundings. I have focused on reflecting and soaking in everything. My thoughts have seemed to turn to anger a lot recently. I know it might not be acceptable to still feel hostile for something that occurred over a decade ago, but the pain of knowing that others disrespect everything this country stands for just ignites the fire within me. As angry as I might get, I would never want to send any more troops to war. I don’t want anyone to go through any more pain or suffer under anyone else’s authority. My idea of peace on earth is imagining a world without hate, pain, suffering or tragedy — one instead filled with love, admiration, selflessness and hope.

Sitting here today, I want everyone to remember the past and use that to fuel the change you want to see in the world — use it to fuel the change you want to see in yourself. I ask you to take a few moments of silence to close your eyes and pray or think about those effected by the evil shed on this country 13 years ago. Reflect on your life and put an emphasis on the positive, and try your hardest to let go of all the hate you may have stored deep within you. Go out today and look up at the sky and embrace its beauty, talk to a stranger and gain a new perspective, thank a serviceman and adopt a sense of gratitude, light a candle and experience a sense of love. Go out and do what you want, but please go out and remember why you get to do it and who paid the ultimate sacrifice to ensure that our freedom was protected.

This is for all those who lost their lives, those who lost their families, those who lost their sense of protection, and especially for those looking to gain back their HOPE.

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