12 Years Later: Surviving in the Aftermath of 9/11

It seems interesting that today's Blogtember challenge would be about blogging and social media after all of the memorial services and everything that encompasses Patriots Day and 9/11.

Yesterday it was quite sobering to watch the live coverage of 9/11/01 on MSNBC. Justin said he felt it was "low class". Would all of the people that died on that terrible day really want to be remembered via old news coverage?

At the same time as the replay of the live feed was going on on MSNBC, other channels were showing the memorial service at Ground Zero. One of the first name readers I saw from the service was a little girl with whom I presumed to be her dad. She got up to the stage and bravely, in front of who knows how many people, read names that even I would find difficult to pronounce before honoring lost family with a short eulogy that I am certain another member in the family wrote for her to read.

Frankly, it's a bit difficult to believe that a 10 year old child was not alive when 9/11 took place. To many Americans, and especially to New Yorkers and those with family flying that day or visiting the Pentagon, 9/11 seems like it took place only yesterday. We still share our stories, cry, and hold our families just a little bit tighter. We know it could have been any one of us inside the buildings or on the planes that day.

How many years will it take for us to get past this tragedy and will we ever? More importantly: should we ever?

When I think of the blog posts and social media account updates from yesterday, it doesn't surprise me to see that, on a day of reckoning, we are all posting #neverforget and sharing our stories. Twelve years later, we still remember what it felt like to be under attack – to feel that we might lose all that we hold dear. Stories and reminders allow us to recognize that, despite losing our sense of security that day (at the very least), we were not alone – we are not alone.

There is something so beautiful about how this tragedy holds Americans together. We may not necessarily want to remember how our friends, family, and neighbors perished, but we also don't want to forget the humanity, love, and compassion that the tragedy brought out in us. From rescue workers that worked tirelessly for days after the tragedy, many losing their lives during the building collapses, to the individuals on the streets of New York who offered water and a place to sleep to those who could not get home, compassion was everywhere. For months and years afterward, Americans donated time and money to put New York, Washington D.C., and their country back together – to create some sense of normalcy for those individuals hit most hard by the tragedy.

While we cannot bring back our loved ones or prevent future misfortune from occurring, the stories of love and compassion, empathy and respect bring us together and unite us as Americans and as humans. Forever ingrained in our memories is not the story of evil, but rather the story of how good triumphed over evil, how something so terrible was transformed into a story of heroism, love and beauty, and how we became survivors – not victims.

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