Here, in the Juneau Empire newsroom, we all remember where we were 12 years ago when the World Trade Center was attacked.
Some were trudging across a college campus, only to find their classes empty and classmates huddled around television screens. Others were roused early out of bed, then off to work having to cover the incident in their own newsrooms. Many remember the exact moments of that day, what clothes they wore, how information unfolded and how the images on the television looked more like Hollywood fantasy than reality.
We wonder how readers feel about the event more than a decade later. We wonder if the pain is still as crisp, or if feelings have numbed. Does the day still hold the same meaning, or will it be just another Wednesday?
It should never be forgotten, that’s for certain. No doubt there’s still a void where lives once were. It was pivotal; our lives are not the same as a result.
Today, many of our news stories hinge on that historic day. Take the increased screening at airports, for instance. Yes, even at the humble Juneau International Airport, we have a body scanner. Or the constant news about the National Security Agency and whistleblowers such as Edward Snowden. Stories on war, trials, policy, elections, to name just a few, can all be tied back to Sept. 11 in one way, shape or form. Our national politicians have used the event to justify foreign and domestic policy shifts, turning a day of remembrance into something else entirely — fodder for their own agenda; it seems to have muffled those powerful emotions of patriotism we felt as a country immediately during and after the event.
We will remember, always, but will it just become another day?
Not if we do something to make sure it doesn’t.
Closer to home, we take a moment of silence. Each year, we meet at Rotary Park to honor the 3,000 people who died, to say thank you, once again, to those who rushed into the burning, collapsing buildings to make sure the death toll wouldn’t continue to rise.
We had a news item today which spoke of “a constellation of volunteer networks around the world” that spread goodwill by doing good deeds in honor of those who died. Let’s turn this National Day of Service and Remembrance into a day of action where we reach out to our brothers and sisters. Let’s start with a hug, or a handshake, or even a “Thank you.”
Twelve years later let us turn what was a tragedy of epic proportions into a reason to do good in the face of all that is not. Let us remember the courage and greatness of that day.
And so we ask again, what does this day mean to you now?