9/11: Learning from the compassion that healed a broken nation

Sabrina Suen, Opinion Editor

September 11, 2001 is a date that is seared into the hearts of Americans. A date that has become so vital to our cultural DNA that many historians have begun to separate America’s timeline as “pre” or “post” 9/11. Throughout the past decade so many political decisions have hinged off this event that then Senator John Kerry called “the worst day we have ever seen”.
So why is it that on September 11, 2015 most Liberty students went through their day with virtually no mention of the historical significance of this date whatsoever?
This day that started off as a unified memorial of our common national pride has, with each passing year, become more and more steeped in controversy. Some argue that 9/11 is nothing more than President George Bush’s justification for the U.S.’s military presence in the oil-rich Middle East. Others remember the day for the cultural divide that it has caused, and the continuing alienation of the Muslim community.
However, there is no denying that this day changed the course of American history. Over time, I suppose teachers have simply decided that it isn’t worth disrupting their lessons to mention a day that rolls around every year.
But shouldn’t teachers have a duty beyond what the College Board and Common Core dictates? They are entrusted with the sacred task of preparing the next generation’s doctors, scientists, and leaders. How are these future innovators supposed to lead our nation when they aren’t taught to care about the aftermath of a tragedy that veered America to the path it is on now?
And if not for that, then shouldn’t teachers at least have the duty to teach us about the importance of feeling empathy towards our fellow citizens? In a country that seems to be constantly at odds with itself, 9/11 is the greatest reminder of our common humanity.
On the streets of New York City, in the ashes of the Twin Towers, Americans, not white people or black people, gays or straights, Christians or Muslims, but Americans, helped each other rise from the rubble.
The greatest lesson we can teach our students is that maybe just one day a year, we can all put away our pride and our biases to remember a time, 14 years ago, when simple acts of compassion and kindness were enough to bind together the fabric of a broken nation.
We should be seizing these rare moments in history that demonstrate the courage and strength of humans. There is enough hate and cynicism to fill the remaining 364 days of year.
There are a lot of things in American history that are worth of being ashamed of. But call me an idealist, call me a patriot, call me naïve, or call me stupid; however, I don’t think we should so carelessly forget how fortunate we are to live in this country and to be Americans.