Never Forget

Never Forget

13 Years Since September 11: If You Don’t Take Time To Remember, You Forget

By Todd Essig – Via Forbes-

Thirteen is often said to be unlucky. There are all those elevator buttons jumping from “12” right to “14” to eliminate the possibility of an ill-starred choice. And fear of the number even has its own fancy sounding phobia, triskaidekaphobia. But this year, in downtown New York as well as elsewhere I am sure, thirteen is a special number because it is the 13th anniversary of the September 11 attacks. And for those of us still around who can note the day, we must consider ourselves lucky.

Time passes. Things change. The National September 11 Memorial Museum has opened. Some of the mementos and remembrances from the Family Room are now on display at the NY State Museum. Go ahead, take the virtual tour and have a good cry. At the same time some things stay the same. Too many families have been brought new to mourning at terrorisms’ hand. As I write the President is once again readying an address to the nation about how we will fight terrorism. More blood will be spilled. And memories? Well, memories both change and stay they same so if you don’t take time to remember, you forget and think you are remembering.

Like I do every year, I want to take a moment to remember by reworking and reposting my memories. I do this because memory really does need attention. Not just mine but yours too. If you’re reading this I hope you’ll do as I’ve done and tell people what you remember because human memory is “active,” “dynamic,” “creative.” This past week I’ve had several patients spontaneously just recount their 9/11 memories. I think people want to hold on to these dynamic memories that pulse through our minds/brains unlike static bits in machines. What we do with our memories on today’s thirteenth anniversary becomes part of tomorrow’s memory. What we do today helps create how the fourteenth anniversary will feel. It helps create what 9/11 will mean to us and those who come after us. Memory also smooths the rough edges. It makes the story fit the current moment. For the lucky majority, traumatic memories get sanded down by subsequent events.

I don’t just want just to remember that 9/11 happened. I don’t want it to become history, at least nor mere history. I want to remember how it felt, what it meant. By keeping the memory alive I can keep the feel of the day both distant and immediate. I hope the same for you. Sitting in my office now at the keyboard I can easily conjure the acrid smell that took over downtown and lingered for months. At the same time, did it really happen? Was there a time before museums, blue share-bikes on the corner? Before we lost someone loved? September 11 threatens to feel like something that never happened, like a distant event borrowed from someone else. Remembering trauma and loss can be like that.

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God bless America on this sad day of remembrance



  1. The mantra of the day 9/11/2001 was “We Will Never Forget” and the people of this country have all but forgotten. And 9/11/2012, Benghazi took place. No one wants to talk about that and Hilary Clinton is said to have said “What does it matter?!” It matters a lot… especially to the families that lost their loved ones that fateful night. Even after Chris Stevens asked for help days before, he was turned down as he has Libyan protection and contracted CIA operatives. If you watched the interview with Bret Baier (I am not sure how to spell his name), it was heart-wrenching. I have pictures of what they did to him before they set the building on fire. He was sodomized with a cattle prod. What crudity. And then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton blamed it on some YouTube video as told to her by so-called intelligence. Then she says, “What does it matter?!” And the photo of her saying it is also on my blog. I asked my husband, who is a firefighter and went 3 times to NY for funerals for the firefighters along with others from his department, what is the significance of 9/11 to these radical terrorists? He said that is has something to do with a date related to Bin Laden or one of the head terrorists. This means that we have to be on high alert every 9/11!

    The yellow ribbon that I used to have on my car while my son was in Iraq that said, We Will Never Forget, is peeling away. I have a 9/11 decal on the back of my vehicle in hopes of keeping people’s memories alive.

    • Thank you for this beautiful comment Rhonda. I have seen many American Muslims on social media turn this date into their victimization. They see it as the day their family started experiencing “islamophobia” and it really angers me because instead of condemning the terrorists, they are condemning other American citizens. I think Obama agrees with his old pastor Rev Jeremiah Wright who implied America deserved the terror attacks because of its foreign policy. It is disgraceful. I’m starting to give up hope that we will ever have justice for Benghazi. Every day when I wake up, I am shocked more and more by what our country has become. Thank your husband and your son for their service. We need more good men like them. God bless you and your family.

  2. I shall never forget that day, it plays back in my head like it was yesterday. I am struck today with how our leaders have failed to secure our borders after the horrific events of that September day in 2001, with how our president has decimated and demoralized our military, with attempts by some to turn what should be a day of honoring the fallen into a day of ‘service’ or ‘celebration’.

    I wonder how/if the attacks of that day are being taught to young people in our schools. Is it being glossed over, is history being rewritten?

    My nephew joined the army shortly after the attacks, he signed up while still in high school and went on to serve multiple tours in Iraq. His service along with that of so many others is proof to me that our military people are the best among us, their service and sacrifice humbles me. I know how proud he was to serve and how proud all of my family is of him.

    America needs God’s blessing more now than ever. It has fallen so far, so fast from what it once was that I too have a hard time coming to grips with what America is today. I pray for our people – especially our patriots – that we may remain strong in our convictions and be a light to those who can be swayed to join this good and righteous fight. I too pray for Israel, I know she is in for tough times. Israel in the end will be battered, but will still be standing … sadly, alone as mentioned in Genesis 12:3 “And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.”

    May God bless the United States of America, and protect us from these barbarians. Good can triumph over evil, but our nation needs to turn its face and heart back to God and stop turning our backs on Him.

  3. Char in ND says:

    Today I am very angry. The report that the Senate Democrats put out regarding interrogation techniques (that they all knew about, by the way) is a lie – and in so, are guilty of dishonoring what the CIA directors, officers and other personnel did to protect us. The CIA deserves our respect and thanks, for keeping us safe. They don’t deserve to be castigated, they deserve medals of freedom for keeping our nation free from further attacks to this day.

    On 9/11 I lived in Minneapolis. I remember turning on the television while getting ready for work. I saw on tv both airplanes hit the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. The radio station I listened to was KQRS in Minneapolis. I recall later on an audio they played, don’t remember what the feed was. It was a guy speaking, and there were these sounds – booms in the background. He said the sounds were those of people’s bodies hitting the ground. The jumpers. I’ll never get that out of my head, or out of my heart. I cannot imagine what those people went through. What their families and friends went through. That resonates in my mind more than any videos I saw, perhaps because it was so violent and reverberated in my soul.

    I am sick today because of this political bs – the people who serve will be put in even greater danger. The most devastating thing is this huge lie, that somehow our operatives in the CIA were brutal and tortured these terrorists. I actually don’t know how they restrained themselves. Those bastards burned our countrymen alive. They continue to behead men, to rape and enslave women, to torture and crucify children. To disembowel those who won’t pledge allegiance to their ideology.

    We are in deep trouble when we forget that day. We didn’t start it, and these fools who sympathize with the enemy did forget. These idiots in charge today would have lost WWII with a pen and a damn phone.

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