Millennials: Never Forget September 11

Millennials: Never Forget September 11

How visiting the 9/11 memorial changed my perspective.

Do you remember where you were on September 11, 2001 when terrorists attacked the United States?

I personally don't. I was only 4 at the time and have no recollection of the day. I grew up learning about the 9/11 attacks in school and from my family and saw a few pictures of the burning World Trade Center. But I can't even imagine the horror of experiencing 9/11 in person.

Last week, I visited the National September 11 Memorial and Museum for the first time. As I walked through the exhibits, I saw a plethora of pictures and recordings from that terrible morning. I saw fragments of fire helmets and fire trucks used by extraordinarily brave Americans to help rescue as many people as possibly that morning. I saw videos of people jumping from the tops of buildings and family members sobbing.

The experience was both heart-breaking and mind-opening. Prior to visiting the memorial, I failed to grasp the magnitude of human life lost that day. I hadn't considered that the streets of New York that I walk each day were once streets filled with dust and rubble from burning buildings.

Even though I don't personally know anyone who was killed on 9/11 and I don't remember the events of the day, I do believe that American millennials should never forget that 9/11 happened. Each year, we get farther away from 2001. But the significance of the attacks has not diminished.

Millennials should always remember that they are blessed with an incredible privilege in living in America. This country grants freedoms that are unheard of for many other nation's citizens. But this freedom also makes the U.S. an enemy to other countries and ideologies. Because of our free market, our freedom of speech, and our freedom of religion, we were targets on 9/11. And we still are today.

Cliche as it sounds, we are the future. We will be the ones who have to fight terrorism in the global age. It is essential for millennials to remember the pain that America experienced in 2001. We need to be informed and sharpened about history so that we can effectively combat Islamic terrorism. It is a problem that has only grown since 9/11 and is not going away anytime soon.

So millennials, let's not forget to be grateful for our freedom. And let's never forget the price that many Americans paid for it.

Cover Image Credit: The Odyssey Online

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Facing The Giants In Life

"Remember God has already overcame the World"

Through life we face many giants or mountains...some small and others large. Most of the time we think that God should just remove the giants and that should be it...I mean he is the all powerful God who can do anything right? While this is true he also, wants us to climb the mountains and face our giants, because he gives us battles bigger than ourselves to show that all things are possible with him. But God won't leave us to conquer alone but be our strength or you might say our armor throughout the battles.  For example the story of David and Goliath that many of you have heard but probably never had really broken down before. 

(1 Samuel 17:3) This story starts out with a valley between two mountains and the description of Goliath, a destructible, merciful giant. No one in Israel wanted to fight this giant, except one unlikely person David. He was just regular individual who was a slinger, how could he possibly kill this giant? And of course the King said that David was no match to defeat Goliath, and David started to tell about how he kept his father's sheep and how he had to fight off lions and bears, and if God can deliver him from those then he can deliver him from this giant. So the King sent him to fight. David started out in the armor that was chosen for him but decided that he had to be himself to conquer this giant and most of all have faith in God. So he chose 5 smooth stones and a sling, and went over near Goliath. He knew he had to keep his distance, and while Goliath had a sword and shield, David had a sling, rocks and the power of God. The battle didn't last very long, and ended in a victory of David after hitting the giant in the forehead with a stone.

 I love this story because it is such a good example of facing the giants and mountains in life. Yes, they may be larger then you are but you have to keep in mind that your God is bigger. You have to put on God's armor, stand firm, and keep climbing. You have to always be prepared and evaluate your focus and make sure your focused on God by spending time with him in different ways. A quote that I heard while watching a video by Jordan Lee Dooley said "Focus on your giants and you stumble, focus on God and your giants will tumble." And this quote is so perfect because you can't focus on what the enemy is telling you because he will always find ways to say your not strong enough, your not big enough, you are not able, like the King told David (1 Samuel 17:33).  But through the climb and battles always remember God has already overcame the World. 

~Shay 


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I'm Pro-Life, Just Not In The Way You Think

It is another thing entirely to work for the rights of humans after they are born.

This weekend marks the 45th anniversary of the Supreme Court case Roe vs. Wade that decided that a woman has the right to seek an abortion legally if she wishes to terminate her pregnancy.

Since 1973, this case has stirred up a lot of controversies, with many failed attempts to repeal the initial Supreme Court decision and both sides fighting for modifications to the initial bill, that would make abortion either more or less accessible.

The gravity of this debate has created a deep rift between people who identify as pro-life versus those who consider themselves pro-choice. Each side has vilified the other and there appears to be no hope of finding a common ground.

As someone who grew up in a deeply religious family, surrounded by people who have been deeply involved in the pro-life movement, I was exposed to these ideas from a pretty early age.

I know what it's like to be surrounded by people who wholeheartedly believe that a fetus deserves the human rights afforded to people who are already born.

These are good people.

I've also attended a fairly liberal university in California. I've worked with a poor immigrant community. I've volunteered in a hospital for people who cannot afford health care. I know what it's like to buy a pregnancy test in terror that it may turn up positive. I've seen what it's like to feel like abortion is your only option.

These are good people.

I don't know now where I fall when it comes to this issue. I guess I'd call myself pro-choice solely because I do not feel that I have the authority to tell another woman what decision she should make for herself and her family.

I love babies. I always have and I always will. I'm not a fan of abortion. If I could save every single baby, believe me, I would.

I agree with the end goal of the pro-life movement, but I disagree fundamentally with every way that they go about to achieve that end goal and I do not understand the correlation between people who fight for a child to be born, but will not fight for that child's rights after birth or when they find themselves in their own unwanted pregnancy. I am not pro-abortion, but I am pro-choice.

It is one thing to call yourself pro-life and to spend your Saturday mornings outside of a Planned Parenthood, either praying peacefully or harassing the women that have come to seek health care (hint: most actually aren't there for an abortion).

It is another thing entirely to work for the rights of humans after they are born; to fight to dismantle the social structures that led these women not to want to be pregnant in the first place; to promote a society that sets women and children and families up to succeed.

I know that birth control and comprehensive sex education help lower abortion rates. A movement that wants to prevent abortions but also tries to prevent these resources isn't focusing solely on abortion prevention, they're relying on sexual oppression to achieve their goal. And it's backfiring.

I'm pro-life. Just not in the way you're thinking of.

I'm pro-life for the over 20% of American children that are living in poverty.

I'm pro-life for the black men who are arrested at an extraordinary rate for largely non-violent offenses.

I'm pro-life for the 40,000 veterans that have fought to serve our country and then end up on the streets every night when they get home.

I'm pro-life for the 63,000 children who are sexually abused every year.

I'm pro-life for the men and women who need food stamps to feed their families.

I'm pro-life for the 45,000 people who die and will continue to die every year because they can't afford health coverage.

I'm pro-life for the 1 in 6 women who will be raped in her lifetime.

I'm pro-life for the immigrants in this country, both those who are here legally and those who are not, that are taken advantage of because of their vulnerable position in society.

I’m pro-life for the members of the LGBT+ community that are discriminated against and that commit suicide at alarmingly rates as a result of the harassment they receive.

I'm pro-life for the young women who find themselves pregnant in a situation that they cannot afford, that is dangerous for them or their families, and that would make their lives even more difficult. I stand by them and I advocate for their right to choose, even if that choice is not one that I would make for myself.

Cover Image Credit: Instagram

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