How Should We Remember 9/11?

Beth Kwiatek & Henry-Louis Taylor September 11, 2023

How should we remember 9/11?

     It is a day for remembering and honoring. It is a day for learning lessons from the past. It was a tragedy. Most of us know the death count: over 3,000 in NYC, 125 in the Pentagon, and 265 in Shanksville, PA. A tragedy of terrorism unlike any other in the history of the continental United States.

     Yet, we cannot forget that we turned our tragedy into a travesty. A global travesty.  We engaged in a needless war in Iran looking for weapons of mass destruction that did not exist.  We engaged in a twenty-year war with the Taliban in Afghanistan that left over 166,000 dead (of which 47, 245 were Afghan civilians) and left the Taliban in rule. 

     The Middle East and her Muslim citizens were deemed Public Enemy #1, fanatical and anti-modern. Our nation became a surveillance state via the passage of laws that allowed for warrantless wiretapping, mail cover, information extraction from private computers and data mining from social media networks. Lastly, anti-Muslim, anti-Asian, and anti-Black hate crimes committed by White Americans increased exponentially under the patriotic guise of White Nationalism.

     Lastly, we reduced anti-Americanism in the Third World to the simple and simplistic notion of jealousy. Or as President Biden stated commemorating 9/11 at a military base in Anchorage, Alaska; “That’s why the terrorists targeted us in the first place — our freedom, our openness, our institutions.”

So, how should we remember 9/11?

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