BOSTON (CBS) – I was at Sunday’s Red Sox game at Fenway Park and was relieved to see a moment of silence held in memory of the victims of the worst terror attack ever on our country, which happened 16 years ago today.
Relieved, because I was starting to wonder if this year’s anniversary was going to set some kind of grim record for going unrecognized. The usual memorial events were scheduled, but perhaps because of so much other compelling news at this moment, it felt like there was less public anticipation of the anniversary than ever before.
And it’s undeniable that time has taken its predictable toll on our commemoration. MSNBC is not re-airing its coverage from that terrible morning as they have for the past 15 years. And with what’s going on in Florida, I fear the story may get short shrift today.
Why does that matter?
If we forget about 9/11, or allow our memories to become vague, we will surely lose our grasp on the crucial lessons we learned that day: that we always have to stay vigilant; that our free society leaves us vulnerable to those who hate us; that we cannot be “Fortress America,” ignoring what goes on beyond our borders, until the moment when that ignorance hurts us badly.
We can’t let 9/11 become a second-tier memory because we’re still struggling with the problems it exposed, our fragmented security systems, governmental incompetence, often-clueless foreign policy, and more.
And most of all, we can’t let time erode the memory of 9/11 because that would hasten the onset of the next attack, and more of the almost-incalculable suffering it inflicted on us.