9/11: The Next Generation

Picture 11By: Legislator Jay Hood, Jr. (D- Haverstraw)
Vice Chair
Rockland County Legislature

It is difficult to come up with words that have not been used to describe September 11th and its devastating aftermath to our country and county. Fifteen years after that day, a new generation has been born and grown; a new generation with no memory of that day, and a distance to the attacks that will only grow wider with time.

Anyone old enough to remember 2001 remembers where they were and what they were doing when they first learned of, or even worse, witnessed or experienced, the terrorist attacks. We have come a long way since the smoke-filled chaos of that September. We have buried the dead, we have rebuilt, and we strive to remember.

As time goes by, that memory fades. Fewer people speak of it, and fewer still attend commemorations and services. Those of us who remember that day recall what followed. Our television screens, which were filled with scenes of shock and grief, turned to scenes of missiles and war.

The ever-present manhunt for the mastermind behind the attacks occupied our attention for years. His death at the hands of our greatest soldiers gave us, for the first time in a decade, a sense of closure. Now we must turn to what is next.

9/11 will always be engraved as a solemn day in our national history, but its future commemoration and the honor we bestow to its victims – and heroes – will only continue if we begin to teach the generation that came after about its importance.

Much has changed in 15 years. The greatest thing we can do to keep that day sacred now is to teach our young people its important meaning, and to make them understand the significance it holds in all of our hearts.

Fifteen years from now, an even younger generation will grow up, further distant from a time before “everything changed.” We must ensure that this consecrated date does not just become simply another on the calendar. It is our duty to those who came before us, and to those who will follow.

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