A heavy mist hovers ominously above the New York skyline, thick smoke billowing uncontrollably from a crippled mass of instantaneous rubble. Below the murky canopy, chaos and frenzied panic spread rapidly alongside roaring pockets of unrestrained fire. The shrill pitch of sirens echo dully throughout the city, each signal of aid slowly smothered beneath an impenetrable haze of desolation. Consumed by the forces of evil, the city itself seems to collapse in a radiant episode of sheer terror and horrific destruction. Although 9 years past, this scene remains hauntingly fresh, a jolting memory of the horror that was September 11th, 2001 – a historic day that deserves sanctity and remembrance for all who were victimized.
A jarring thorn in the side of our Nation’s pride, 9/11 menacingly haunts Americans every year. On this fateful day, nearly 3,000 innocent Americans lost their life in a tragedy that brings mourning and renewed dread every time “9/11” is merely mentioned, let alone relived every year. How many times has one stumbled upon the digits “9:11” flashing gravely on a clock and turned away quickly, almost forcefully denying its mocking existence. The truth is, “9/11” has become more than a day, it has enshrined itself in the memory of all Americans as a symbol of defeat, sadness, and loss. It is understandable that after a minute of silence each September 11th to cherish the memory of loved ones lost, many Americans are eager to get on with their lives in desperation for September 12th. While this anxious drive has allowed America to give itself some distance from the reality of 9/11, mourn its victims, and reestablish normalcy, it is now time to confront this disaster by preserving the memory of victims and honoring the courage of heroes in a ceremonial environment. The time for “sidestepping” 9/11 out of grave fear and dismay needs to cease. Americans should be given the unimpeded opportunity to remember victims and celebrate heroism throughout the entire day, expressing the spirit of American strength and courage. With the 10-year anniversary looming in the horizon, it is time for this fateful day to be institutionalized as a National holiday to allow Americans the freedom of honoring September 11th in any fashion they wish, preserving the memory of this fateful day with reverence and honor.
While it has been nine years since the infamous attacks, 9/11 remains a strong source of powerful emotions and various reactions. It is seen as both a day of terrible defeat and sadness, but also of monumental bravery and heroism. While notions of the American hero seemed to lose its identity after Vietnam, new heroes arose from beneath the twisted steel and hazy mist of New York City streets that day in the form of the courageous police officer, the soot-covered firefighter, and the faceless volunteer citizen. 9/11 claimed the lives of too many victims, but it was the American heroes of unbelievable sacrifice and super-human persistence that saved countless more from death. The undeniable bravery and courageous heroism that triumphed that day must be preserved and given its proper respect, just as the victims deserve the allocated time for remembrance and grief. In an effort to commemorate the contemporary virtues of heroism that sprung anew that day, the United States needs to declare 9/11 a National holiday as a reminder of the day America persevered with heroic strength against the forces of terrorism. The truth is that in December of 2001, President Bush officially signed a resolution to designate 9/11 “Patriot Day” in an effort to increase awareness and attribute honor and dignity to this momentous day. However, downplayed by the media and retaliated against by many Americans, “Patriots Day” is overlooked. Many Americans justifiably claim that 9/11 is a day to remember victims and mourn tragedy, not an opportunity to champion patriotism. Others claim shutting down the normal ebb and flow of American life will make us appear weak, a ceremonial acknowledgement of our collapse beneath terrorist pressure. While it is unfair to generalize sentiments by claiming a “Patriots Day,” 9/11 needs to be set aside as a day for remembrance, allowing Americans a free day for personal prayer and reflection. By instituting 9/11 as a National Holiday, America will finally express its strength by directly confronting the terrible event with steadfast courage and resolve, acknowledging the day as a sacred day, not a day to be forgotten and feared. Side by side with the horrific scene of fire and smoke is the brilliant picture of resilient citizens under the waving flag of freedom, united in one purpose: the building of a greater future and the perseverance to move forward. If 9/11 is established as a National holiday, the United States will firmly establish September 11th as the day America rallied, persevered, and survived in an unprecedented spirit of unity, cooperation, and unwavering courage.