FRIDAY FORUM: Remembering, and Teaching, 9/11

This past Monday marked the 22nd anniversary of the September 11th attacks. That day changed the world and had a tremendous impact on my fire service career, occurring at its infancy. It is hard to believe that many years have passed, and as many in our society seem to forget, it is vitally important that we don’t. 

We have a new responsibility, however. We can no longer just remember; now we have to teach. I recently worked with several young firefighters who weren’t born on September 11th.  By the time they were old enough to track world events, Osama Bin Laden had been dead for several years. We cannot assume in our present culture that anyone has taken the time to teach them. It is up to us.

Thankfully, there is a plethora of media available. From dispatch audio (I relistened to the FDNY audio on Monday. It was recorded on a cassette tape, and the listener is instructed to turn the tape over. You might need to explain what a cassette tape is…), documentaries, books, and museums, there are many options to choose from. If you’re in a position to influence junior members on your crew, take responsibility for making sure they are exposed to this material. It is always heartbreaking to relive that day, but it is necessary.

Please also teach them about the flags. About the Soldiers, Marines, Sailors and Airmen who rose to the occasion. About freedom. About hope. About the resilience of the American spirit that I believe is STILL there, despite the fractures in our culture. That the USA is STILL the greatest nation in the world.

Remember, and teach the next generation to remember as well.

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