Editorial: Don’t forget to remember the fallen

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The Oakland Post

By Oona Goodin-Smith

According to author Jill C. Wheeler, it’s “the day that changed America.”

It’s the reason we must pack only three ounces of shampoo when planning for vacation, the catalyst behind the “freedom fries” movement.

It fueled America’s anti-Islamic sentiment and began the “War on Terror,” an endeavor our country continues to pursue as President Barack Obama prepares to speak on the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) this Wednesday night.

But do you remember where you were on the morning of September 11, 2001?

For the class of incoming Oakland University freshmen, the event is but a foggy first grade memory, distant and sheltered. We live in Michigan, not New York: many witnessed the plane crash terror only through a television screen, many of our families were not directly affected.

Thirteen years later, for too many, September 11 is just another day: an essay due date, a Thursday. Too often, the 2,996 killed in the tragedy, the 5,700 who have died in post-9/11 wars, according to a recent study by the American University, remain unrecognized and under-appreciated.

“To me, 9/11 reminds me of the cost of freedom worldwide that people are trying to achieve, but here in America, we get to exercise it freely to its maximum potential. That was jeopardized on that day,” said Veterans Support Services Representative Jeff Schuett. “It reminds me that if we don’t protect our freedom, we will eventually lose it.”

We at The Oakland Post urge Oakland University students and faculty to take an active stance in remembering and reflecting on 9/11 this year, to take time to remember those and the families of those lost in the tragedy that altered American life as we know it.

We urge you to reflect on our privileges and responsibilities as Americans. Pay thanks to a veteran or attend a remembrance ceremony such as Oakland University’s Center for Student Activities and Student Veterans Association’s tribute on Thursday, September 11 between North and South Foundation Halls, this year specifically focusing on remembering and honoring the first responders to the scene.

“It’s an intimate and respectful ceremony,” said Schuett. “It begins at 8:46 a.m. to commemorate the time when the first plane hit the Twin Towers.”

In a country, where, according to National Public Radio, “government trust is at an all-time low,” and filibustering often replaces law-making, it is admittedly easy to become swept up in a political sandstorm and disenchanted with America as a whole.

However, remembering the September 11 tragedy has no political affiliation, no liberal, conservative, or Green Party strings attached.

Remembering 9/11 is about remembering a collective loss of our country, a collective coming together. The date recognizes American resilience, human resilience.

“It affects everyone on a different scale,” said Schuett. “But it affects us all.”