As I scrolled through Facebook, the “Never Forget” memes that are ever-present in the month of September fill my feed with sad reminders of a day that devastated our nation. Everyone from every walk of life in our country who was alive on September 11, 2001, can remember what they were doing when they learned about the horrific events that transpired on that day.
How unfortunate it is that we did, in fact, forget.
A foreign entity brought our country to its knees and used our own planes to murder approximately 3,000 people on our own soil. The next day, we did as Americans have always done, we soldiered on. We spent the next 20 years sending our sons and daughters to play in a sandbox with the hope of avoiding another catastrophic event.
On September 12, 2001, when we knew the extent of the damage wrought by a group of terrorists intent on harming our way of life, we made vows. We promised to never forget the events that had occurred. To never forget that we are united as one against an enemy that wishes to do us harm.
We aren’t very good at keeping our vows.
Politics has divided us faster and more completely than any terrorist ever could. Our country splintered under the Obama Administration, fractured under the Trump Administration, and split wide open under the Biden Administration.
Yet, supporters of all the former administrations are posting how they will never forget the fateful day that changed the course of history. People with vaccines are posting how they never forgot that day, and people without vaccines are also posting the same message. Rich people are posting their remembrances alongside the poverty-stricken.
All the “Never Forget” posts are sandwiched between the hatred spewed within posts and memes. Social media has become a competition of slaying the enemy by redefining the enemy.
The enemy is no longer the groups of individuals that wish to do us harm but one another. We can’t agree on basic human rights and body autonomy, and instead of using our communication to develop ongoing dialogue, we post a meme that speaks to how we feel about any given subject.
We clearly forgot how to be the United States of America.
On Saturday I hope you take a moment to remember the thousands of lives lost through a terrorist act. I hope you then go speak to a neighbor who disagrees with you about vaccines, politics, foreign policy, or whatever hot button issue has severed your relationships.
Take a moment to remind yourself that we were attacked, but don’t forget the day after when we remembered that we’re all in this together.