Sept. 11 has long meant a lot to my wife and me. It marked the birth of our first child, a son, Sydney, born 50 years ago this Sunday. Their first child, Alex, was born March 13, 2001, six months before the attack on 9/11.
Sunday marks 15 years since we were attacked without warning by a small group of Islamic terrorists acting under the authority of al Qaeda. Fifteen years later we are still involved in a war against Islamic extremists.
It has been a long time, and there is no end in sight. Thinking about this returns me to my own youth.
Like Alex, I was born 10 months before Pearl Harbor. Fifteen years after that attack the War was a distant memory. I was in boarding school. Japan and Germany, our former enemies, were now allies and on their way to becoming major economies.
Gen. Eisenhower had been president for four years. The economy was booming and, apart from periodically being told to duck under our school desks during simulated atom bombs attacks, life for a 15 year old, was peaceful and happy. How long will it be before such idyllic conditions return?
The horrific facts of what happened on 9/11 should never be forgotten. More people were killed that day than died at Pearl Harbor, or Americans killed on D-Day — and those killed on 9/11 were all civilians!
Speaking before the U.N. General Assembly on Nov. 10, 2001, President George W. Bush said:
“Time is passing. Yet, for the United States of America there will be no forgetting Sept. 11. We will remember every rescuer who died in honor. We will remember every family that lives in grief. We will remember the fire and ash, the last phone calls, the funerals of the children.”
Take a moment to think of what happened. Remember those who were lost. And recognize that the evil that perpetrated those attacks still lives. It must be eradicated if my grandson is to live with the hope and optimism that was mine 60 years ago.
Sydney Williams, a retired stock broker, writes about politics, the economy, global affairs, education and climate, among other topics. He may be reached at [email protected]