Opinion: 9/11 is over


Emma Romanowsky

The modern New York skyline exists without the twin towers.

Emma Romanowsky, Highlander Editor-in-Chief

Today marks an important day in America’s history. Chances are, I do not need to spell it out for you. Eighteen years ago, the planes struck the twin towers, killing 3,000 people and injuring more.

I’m not telling you this to teach you the story, you already know it. I’m telling you this because every year, on this date, we are told to #neverforget

Take airports, for example. We don’t all just “decide” to get to the airport two hours early. We go because we have to factor the security line into our travel plans. Though this has occurred all of my life — I was born in 2002 — it was not always the case.

But there are many more reminders. The war in Afghanistan is one. There are metal detectors at concerts and sports games. There’s the president who boasts that he’s been to Ground Zero. There’s a literal memorial which, by the way, is also a shopping mall. 

Where the reminders are noticeably absent, however, demonstrate that it’s unnecessary to continue to devote so much attention to today’s date. At Carlmont, in both the AP U.S. history and government classes, 9/11 was never mentioned on the actual date.

9/11 is important, no question. It is an example of terrorism in the United States and it changed the way the world operates. It would be foolish to deny that. 

But it’s equally foolish to fixate on the event alone. Terrorism still exists, domestically and internationally. The United States alone currently faces a domestic crisis: gun violence.

In 2015, President Obama said, “Tally up the number of Americans who’ve been killed through terrorist attacks over the last decade and the numbers of Americans who’ve been killed by gun violence.” 

The numbers look like this: according to the New York Times, there were 39,773 gun-related deaths in 2017 alone. 9/11 killed 3,000.

Still not convinced? In 2016, according to the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and the Responses to Terrorism (START), terrorist attacks killed 68 people.

If we are going to continue to place 9/11 on the pedestal it is on now, we owe the victims of other attacks equal recognition. We’ve seen how one travesty can change a nation; who’s to say it can’t happen again?

But in order for further change to be made, we need to recognize that 9/11 belongs in the history books, not the modern conversation. We need to make room for the current problems we face.  And we don’t ever need to forget, we just need to emphasize the victims rather than the crime. 

Still, mark my words, next year, check your phone. The hashtag will still be there. 

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