Today marks the 18th anniversary of the horrific terrorist attacks that took place on September 11, 2001. Many of us were too young to comprehend the horror and tragedy of that day, but we can’t forget the sacrifices that followed.
My uncle was a part of the first responder team as a volunteer in New York City on 9/11, my cousin as a police officer and my aunt as an EMT. What they shared about their experiences was always spoken in solemn tones. They were there to treat victims of one of the cruelest terrorist attacks this country had ever experienced.
What happened on September 11, 2001, must never be forgotten. America cannot forget the values it holds dear and the external threats against our way of life. This country was founded on the rights of the individual. The 9/11 attacks remind us that not everyone agrees with the idea that all are created equal and endowed with inalienable rights. The minute we forget that the 9/11 terrorism was an attack against this idea, we will begin to lose our freedoms.
Those terrorists killed 2,977 people on that fateful day. This enormous loss of American life was due to Islamic extremists and their desire to destroy the American way of life.
It is important to remember this day lest we forget the evil that exists in the world. Whether it be terrorism by forces outside of this country, like Al-Qaeda and Islamic State group, or domestic terrorism, like the Boston bombing or mass shootings, terrorism is evil. We must condemn terrorism when it happens. You cannot fight against evil unless you identify it at its core and condemn those who practice it.
While the acts committed on that day seem to be blatantly heinous, not everyone in our country acknowledges those attacks to be terrorism. Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota described the 9/11 attacks as “some people did something.” Those poised to represent the people of this country are starkly minimizing the actions against the U.S. on that day.
Such words make light of terrorism, leaving us open to new threats. Not to mention, those words lay waste to the thousands of lives lost that day. My uncle, cousin and aunt saw the carnage that day and rose up to save those they could. To say that their sacrifice along with the many who served along side of them were not in response to terrorism is disrespectful.
Finally, we must remember the sacrifices brave men and women have made to defend us from terrorism. Their sacrifices allow us to exercise our freedoms and live without fear of grave evil being done to us. These selfless individuals have put their lives on the line for our way of life. They deserve our great thanks.
The events of 9/11 were truly horrifying, but the American spirit has proven it is stronger than any external threat. Remember what happened 18 years ago, and find a way to participate in the memorialization of the innocent lives lost.
Throughout the day, Young Americans for Freedom will be hosting a flag memorial to honor those who died. On Saturday, the Ole Miss ROTC will lead a 5K race at 8:46 a.m. in front of the Lyceum. This is our chance to come together as an Ole Miss community, denounce terrorism and honor those who fought and continue to fight to protect our freedom.
Lauren Moses is junior accounting and political science major from Dallas.