There is a tendency for the tragedies and struggles that traumatize entire nations to be forgotten as years pass and generations age. Like National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, September 11th is becoming a day for the history books. Although the date has been saved for memorials, the monuments have been built, and the political pageantry will continue for years to come, the terrorist attacks will be transformed from a vivid nightmare into a history lesson. When those who experience traumatic events like the September 11th terrorist attacks successfully confront and overcome the trauma, those events start to lose their personal significance, which is a good thing. On other the hand, a failure to learn from destructive events dooms us to repeat the history.
Ever since September 11th 2001, Americans, as well as Westerners in general, have grown increasingly aware of terrorist activities experienced throughout the world. In many respects, September 11th is a day for Americans to reflect on their experiences with terrorism, but it is also an opportunity to remind Americans and the numerous other Peoples of the world that we are all deeply hurt by the actions of violent extremists. Unfortunately, the frequencies of terrorist attacks throughout the globe have only increased over the last 14 years. Meanwhile, the pre-9/11 era was marked by unprecedented peace and economic stability on global scale; whereas, war now overshadows the threat of terrorism. America may be overcoming the trauma of the September 11th terrorists attacks, but world events demonstrate the need to learn from modern history.
Younger generations tend to see the world in different ways than old generations do. In the modern age, the gap between tradition and change has never been wider. Where older generations tended to simply accept tradition, younger generations have been trained to question. When it comes to adapting to an ever-changing world, this mentality is extremely beneficial. When the reasons traditions exist cannot be easily explained, the impulse of younger generations to reject undefended practices, which do not appear to have value, can be very harmful to society. As such, young Americans are only going to reflect on the September 11th terrorist attacks when they see there is a purpose for doing so.
Furthermore, the world has experienced an acceleration of globalization over the past few decades that has helped connect and reshape most cultures. Indeed, Al Qaeda came into existence, because globalization helped connect the Muslim world while allowing extremists to think in terms of global strategy. At the same time, globalization has also helped spread democratic thinking, which is exemplified by the Arab Spring Revolutions. In addition to democratization, the Americanization of the world has allowed all-things American to be assimilated into even the most traditional and closed cultures. Consequently, the impulse to question and reject the ill-explained views of their processors is ingrained into the thinking of younger generations on a global scale.
September 11th should be remembered, because doing so forces us to recognize terrorism is a threat that cannot simply be ignored. What 9/11 did was force Westerners to recognize that terrorism is not just someone else’s problem. Ignoring threats like terrorism allows those threats to fester, until they result in massive outbreaks of violence. It is also important to remember that terrorism has not just hurt Americans. Global terrorism has devastated countless lives. Not only is September 11th a time to reflect on the threat of terrorism, it also a time to reflect on how terrorism unites the world. Failing to learn these lessons means events like the September 11th terrorists attacks will continue across the globe. Neglecting the reality of terrorism eventually collimates into mass destruction.
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