The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

    Remember Sept. 11, but look forward

    On Dec. 7, 1941, our nation was attacked without warning on what President Roosevelt called “a date which will live in infamy.” If President Roosevelt had seen Sept. 11, 2001, he would have likely said the same thing. It was a hellish day, but it exposed greatness as well. Despite the risk to his own life, Father Mychal Judge ministered to a fatally injured fire fighter in the World Trade Center. “Father Mike” perished moments later. That same dedication and sense of duty is shown every day by hundreds of police officers, firefighters and EMTs who unselfishly go to work knowing the risk of doing so.
    Lt. Col. Ted Anderson carried two injured people away from the flames at the Pentagon on Sept. 11. He then re-entered the smoke-filled building and brought two more people. He went back a third time to help another employee out and used his own body to put out the flames engulfing another victim.
    He tried to go inside yet again, only to be restrained by firefighters. Anderson was actually angry at the firefighters for restraining him. “You don’t leave your comrades on the battlefield,” he said. This is the caliber of people serving in your United States Armed Services, ladies and gentlemen. The freedom we enjoy, they protect. They sacrifice much so that we can have plenty.
    Aboard Flight 93, Todd Beamer and a handful of others put their lives at risk to thwart the murderous plans of that plane’s hijackers. The man who ended his last cell phone conversation with “Let’s roll,” showed us that we are still Americans. Like ordinary Americans have done ever since standing up to the British, Beamer and his associates stood in the face of fear and showed the world that nobody comes into our backyard and pushes us around.
    All three of these people stepped up on that horrific day and became national heroes. Nothing we could ever do could possibly repay what they did and what others like them do every day of the week around this country and all over the world.
    That kind of heroism should be memorialized and remembered. But how? Some have suggested a national holiday. That idea may sound good, but the thought of seeing department stores marking down merchandise for the annual “9/11 Sale” is repugnant and insulting.
    This has been done to virtually all of our other national holidays and there is little reason to believe such would not be done to this one as well. Our predecessors had the decency and good taste not to do that to Dec. 7, and we should exercise the same good judgement in regard to Sept. 11.
    There is also the question of what to do as far as a permanent memorial on the site of the World Trade Center. On one hand, the livelihood of lower Manhattan must be rebuilt in some way, but it seems grossly inappropriate not to respect at least part of that land as a shrine. After all, it has become a shrine to so many people whose lives were touched by this monumental tragedy.
    Regardless of what gets cast in bronze, carved in stone or erected in concrete, nothing can change what we lost, what we gained or what happened on that day.
    What we can do is live the life we have with passion, as life was meant to be lived. We can live in constant gratitude for the freedom we enjoy, and with an eternal vigilance to protect it. In doing this, we will build the greatest memorial of all-a living one.
    Editor’s note: Margaret Odom contributed to this article.
    Tony Odom is a graduate student in the history department. Send comments to [email protected].

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    The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University
    Remember Sept. 11, but look forward