Those who know no different

Published 8:24 pm Monday, September 10, 2012

Today marks the 11th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that changed our world forever. The attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 changed so much of our way of life that many forget the way things “used to be.”

But while it is tough for us to remember the days of when the twin towers dominated the New York skyline, there is an entire generation now in elementary school who know nothing different.

They don’t know a world where the Taliban was an obscure group being harbored in Afghanistan. They are more likely to be able to point out on a globe where Iraq, Pakistan and Yemen are then they are able to locate where towns like Loachapoka or Notasulga are in Alabama.

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These third, fourth or fifth graders have grown up in a country that has always been at war and are quite likely the relatives of someone who has served one or more tours of duty in either Afghanistan or Iraq, or both.

These children, when traveling, have never been to an airport without the Transportation Safety Administration and have never been allowed to walk through a metal detector with their shoes on.

Most are more likely to recognize an image of Osama Bin Laden then they are one of Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley.

Eleven years after the horrific attacks in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania, the wounds that were inflicted upon us are slowly healing. The Pentagon is repaired, a monument has been built in Shanksville, Penn., and a new, taller Freedom Tower is under construction, set to dominate the skyline in New York once again.

But how will history tell of the day our lives, and the lives of generations since, changed? How will they tell the story of the 343 firefighters who died when the towers collapsed? How will history tell the story of the airline passengers who fought back and prevented their plane from being used as another suicide missile?

What we have learned is that history can never tell the story the way it was, nor does it try to. All we can do is teach this generation the reasons why the world changed and why it is up to them such tragedies are never repeated.

Today, on the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, we commit again to never forget.