“We will never forget” is the saying. We say it to remember all who lost their lives, all who lost loved ones, and all who were inspired to volunteer their own lives for their country in response to the horrific attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
We say it to remember how our nation came together. The majority of first responders were regular people, springing into action to help their fellow man no matter the race, creed, ideology, or personal lifestyle attached to the hand they grasped or the body they supported. We say it to remind ourselves that humanity is inherently good, and the evidence is in everyone, everyday.
We said we would remember how the aftermath of the attacks brought unity, and with it compassion and understanding. With few exceptions, the attacks served as a shocking reminder of our mortality and the fleetingness of life. People prayed for the victims and for our country, recognizing their insignificance before the highest power. Politicians held hands and sang patriotic songs on the Capitol steps. What it means to live with freedom in America was considered a privilege again; we were united as Americans. We swore we would never forget.
And yet in an age where our minds are shackled to our screens and our heads constantly stuffed with reminders of how terrible the world is and how awful humanity is, it becomes hard to remember. A new crisis happens everyday, and sin and immorality have become normative. In an age where clicks, likes and views are the new currency of our attention, the headlines dominate; the apocalypse sells.
We swore we’d never forget; and it seems we have. The 21st anniversary of 9/11 came and left with nothing more than a whisper. Social media was alive with news of the Queen’s death; not remembrances of those who sacrificed their lives. There were more rainbow flags and Barstool Sports banners than American flags hanging from apartment windows. There was no commemoration from the university, no prayer intention in Mass. We had more of a reminder of St. Gregory’s Feast Day than we did of the Sept.ember 11th attacks.
In an age of never-ending crises and relentless distractions, please remember; the death of freedom begins when those who are free stop caring. Our Republic is strong and our society well-ordered only as much as the citizens within it. Drunkenness, promiscuity and the normalization of immorality are the pathway to a weak and disordered America.
A week and a half after the anniversary of 9/11, please remember; humanity is good, and you are a part of humanity, even if everything around is trying to tell you otherwise or distract you from remembering. As Tocqueville wrote, “America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.” Don’t let social media or pop culture distract you. Remember who and what you are, UD. Remember what’s important, and please, “Never Forget.”