I am sure there have been plenty of posts about Patriot's Day today... did you even know that 09/11 was given it's own "holiday"? While I have been cognizant of what day it is, I wasn't sure that I wanted to write about it. But here I am at 11:30 at night, putting my thoughts into words.
Like you, I remember where I was when I heard about the 09/11 attacks. My mother and I had spent the morning emptying out my basement as the last phase of a former move was shaping up. I was swinging by the dry cleaners when my husband's secretary called me to tell me about what had happened and that they were cancelling patients for the day. My kids came home early from school and didn't have classes for the next day or two. (We live in Maryland and as the crow flies, are not that far from DC.)
Here we are 10 years later. The big slogan for the day is "Never Forget". But that's exactly what I am concerned will happen. I think about the bombings in Pearl Harbor in 1941. While I understand the significance of December 7, 1941, it is not a day I stop and observe. Am I unpatriotic when I say it is another day in our country's history but doesn't mean anything to me personally? I've been told that 09/11 will probably be one of (if not THE) most defining days of my life. I can believe that but at what point does that not apply? Will my children feel the same way? Surely, my grandchildren won't.
My parents were born in 1939 and 1941. They grew up during WWII and had recollections of it's impact on their lives. While they were too young to remember Pearl Harbor, it definitely impacted them. I think about the war effort in WWII and the amount of support our country showed the troops. I think things are very different today. Our efforts are not as focused and our support is sometimes ambiguous. After 09/11/2001 I saw a unity in our country that I personally had never seen before. But over time that faded away. If the most "defining event in my life" cannot keep a fire burning within the belly of our country, what can?
So while it is all very topical to talk about 09/11/2001 today, what do you do on a daily basis to honor the fallen or keep the passion or patriotism alive? In 70 years will our grandchildren and great-grandchildren think about 09/11/2001 like I think about 12/07/1941? I hope not but unless I am willing to make this day live for them, I don't see how they won't.
The bottom line is our love for our country and what it stands for must be a message we instill in our children every day. Days like today are special because they make us stop and remember. But if we always remember we will never forget.