In observance to the terrorist attacks of 9/11; the students, faculty, and alumni members of North Carolina State University will be holding a memorial service for those who lost their lives by the Memorial Bell Tower. Here they will honor those who died during the attacks and during the wars that followed in response to these attacks.
If you travel to the Brickyard at State, nearby the D.H. Hill Library, you will find a majestic yet fragile looking tree that was planted ten years after the attacks, as a way to remind students daily, that the university is in a constant state of mourning, and in the hopes to never forget what happened. Among the reasons for this effort to remember is that an alumni of NC State, Eric Cranford, who died at the Pentagon.
It would be heartless to say that the efforts made by the members of the NC State family are not truly sincere, since they are, they truly are, without hesitation.
Nor can we deny that there are many of this generation, myself included, who can still remember, with near precise memory, what they did, and what they felt, on that day of destiny.
But, there is a more critical question that must be asked, both for ourselves as individuals and as a society. Have we grown, have we matured, and have we risen from this terrifying event, and become a better people as a result? Have we truly come to terms with what happened?
Or have we simply insulated ourselves with the faint veil of marches, ceremonies, and social affirmations that serve only to ignore the lessons that are necessary to learn in order to avoid such bloodshed from being allowed to take place again?
Americans are a people who do not take history to heart, and tragically, 9/11 is not an event that has been spared of this treatment. Despite our efforts to say otherwise, we have not truly grown since the warm September morning.
We still think of ourselves as invulnerable, immaculate, and without sin. History, tells us a much different story, and what happened on 9/11 was a combination of all three broken modes of thought in play.
We saw how we could be attacked without a single warning. How we were never perfect, and we were riddled with sin. Yet, we ignored the fact that the sign of true greatness is not to be without flaws, it is to acknowledge those flaws and improve them.
While there will never, ever, be any shame in honoring the dead who showed courage and resilience beyond words and remember them forever, it does little to make their sacrifice meaningful if the survivors do not learn from our history.
http://www.wral.com/news/local/story/10087940/, accessed 9/6/2012
http://www.technicianonline.com/news/fallen-alumni-honored-at-memorial-service-1.2624190#.UElC2JYjPxE, accessed 9/6/2012