Lessons Forgotten from 9/11


Beth Hicks, Writer

I remember the first time I watched the documentary “9/11”, made by French film makers and brothers, Jules and Gédéon Naudet. They started out trying to make a movie about a rookie firefighter as he spent his first few months on the job. They ended up accidentally recording footage of one of the darkest days in American history, minute by minute.

I was only a few months old when the Twin Towers were attacked on September 11. I didn’t know anyone, nor was I related to anyone, lost in the disaster. However, I had heard of the day and seen pictures. It wasn’t until I saw that film, that I actually felt the reality of the event.

Watching as men and women, drug strangers out from under debris and jump on top of people to save them from falling rubble, was one of the most heart-breaking things I had ever seen. That day, social barriers were erased. The only label that mattered was ‘human’, and the bonds created through surviving that horrible day turned strangers into family.

On this past anniversary of 9/11, I came across a cartoon that was made shortly after the attack. The cartoon brought to mind the acts of pure instinctual compassion I had seen in that 9/11 documentary. With this resurfacing in my mind, I came to the realization that we have lost maybe one of the only positive things that came from that dark day.

This unity is what I feel we have lost in the years following September 11. It is said now that there is a ‘great divide’ in America. We feel divided on many aspects of life. It feels as if we are living in a country full of strangers. People are often baffled as to why and how to close the rift. But I would like to remind America of the day that turned everyday people into rescuers, and strangers into family. We shouldn’t need another horrific event like 9/11 to once again be able to stand together as Americans. Not because of how superior we are, but because under our flag stands the possibility to unite to make this an amazing country once again.