I saw a post from a friend who is a teacher showing a picture of a patriotic 9/11 backpack of one of her students full of American flags and “God Bless America.” She mentioned how her class had talked a lot about 9/11 in the last few days. She mentioned that she was glad the lessons we learned on 9/11 weren’t lost on a 13-year-old. My initial response was to like the post. But afterward, I started wondering what lessons we learned on 9/11?
This really isn’t a polemic to start a rant and give my opinion. I am genuinely curious. When I look at the United States today, I wonder what we learned on that morning 18 years ago. I wonder at times if we learned anything. At other times, I wonder if I like what we learned.
I was in NYC on that mourning. It will always be ingrained in my mind. I will always remember wondering if I will be able to get home to my family and walking toward the train against the flow of people who were walking across the Brooklyn bridge to leave Manhattan. I will remember sitting on the train, the last one to leave Brooklyn, and seeing people covered in ash embracing and crying as they saw co-workers that they did not know if they survived or not. I will remember sitting in an art history class two days later as we all sat there raw, unable to process. We didn’t discuss any art that day.
I remember the camaraderie that we felt as New Yorkers and Americans over the following weeks and months. So, it is with all seriousness that I wonder what we learned as a nation and what we learned personally.
What did you learn? What do you feel we learned? I’m deeply curious. Please take a few minutes to give me your perspective on this.