I remember the morning of September 11, 2001 distinctly. I woke up for fifth-grade, proceeded about my morning ritual, and came out into the living room where my dad was watching the morning news. Nothing was out of the ordinary. Nothing unusual. Not until I realized what the news was reporting did I start to comprehend.
I still had to go to school, and we continued watching it there. As fifth-graders, we knew enough to understand what terrorism was, the type of people who do such things, and starting to grasp some of the basic reasons as to why such things happen. By the afternoon the teachers attempted to instate some semblance of normalcy, but all of us knew our minds were elsewhere.
When I got home from school, I thought World War III was going to start. I was greatly concerned about it because I thought it meant that my dad and I would have to fight, just as I had learned about in school about the previous World Wars. Admittedly, I did not have as good of an understanding about war as what I do now, but war happened nonetheless.
Fast forward seven years, I did not join the military solely because of my personal experiences on 9/11. I simply didn’t want to graduate as an indebted college student. By this time, I possessed a much better understanding and more refined opinions of the factors involved by then. A terrorist attack occurred, the global denouncing of terrorism and the War on Terrorism was necessary, Saddam Hussein was a bad man, and example had to be made to win future battles. Often though, I ponder the what-if’s that we may have brought ourselves (the U.S.) more headache in the long run by how we responded to 9/11.
While we cannot change the past, we can at least learn and realize from the course of events how things could have been different or might have been better. It is not worth spending an exorbitant amount of time regretting it all, but taking the lessons so that they may be remembered for the next time is worthwhile. 9/11 is no longer the cause nor the event to blame for what is currently happening in the world today. Sure, it definitely influenced it, but our lack of focus and attention to the situations and realizations that really matter is what has kept us here for the last fifteen years.
To continue seeking vengeance for a wrong that occurred fifteen years ago is moot at this point. 9/11 will always remain a memorial in our hearts, but it should no longer serve as the motive for our actions today.