When we remember major events in our lives, we remember the events that changed our lives for better or for worse. For some people, it may be the day they were accepted to a college or the day they got married, but for many Americans, that day was 9/11. Although I was only three years old when 9/11 happened and do not have any memory of the event, I always have a heavy heart when the day comes each year. As a New Yorker, I have heard first-hand countless stories of people who were in Lower Manhattan that day. My mom worked a couple of buildings away from the World Trade Center and saw everything that happened. My dad remembers picking her up from the train station that day and observed how traumatized she was over the course of a few days. My brother remembers telling his classmate that his mother worked near the World Trade Center when they learned about the attack that morning in school. When I visited the 9/11 museum, I was overwhelmed with emotion but also proud of how far we have come. The museum beautifully honored the victims and showed how resilient Americans are. It made a tragedy into a legacy and reminded me that although America is not a perfect country, we can come together no matter what. These are some of the other lessons that 9/11 taught me about Americans:
1. We care for others before ourselves
Whenever I think of 9/11, I always think of the first responders who rushed to the scene. No one knew what was going on, but they just knew that others were in need of help. One story that resonates with me is the story of the man with the red bandana. The tour guide at the 9/11 museum told us about Welles Crowther, who was referred to as "the man with the red bandana", saving many lives by carrying them out of the south tower. People recalled how a young man with a red bandana helped them down the stairs to safety. Welles Crowther is the definition of an American hero and makes me grateful that there are people like him that we have the pleasure to thank in this country.
2. We are strong in the toughest situations.
The firefighters, police officers, and paramedics who raced to the scene of 9/11 are some of the bravest people in this country. They knew the danger of the situation but they also knew that they had a job. They laid down their lives to save other lives which I think is the most important sacrifice one an make in their lives. Witnessing a stranger that saving another stranger reminds me to always help those who can not help themselves.
3. We fight for what is right till the very end.the passengers on United Flight 93. These passengers heard about the attacks about the World Trade Center and realized that their fate would have a similar outcome. They soon began to realize that the hijackers were heading towards Washington, D.C. and decided to try to regain control of the plane. They fought the hijackers in the cockpit but the plane ending crashing in Shanksville, Pennsylvania and killing all passengers onboard. Whenever I hear stories that victims fought back, it inspires me to never give up and never find an excuse to give up. We all have a little fight in us.
4. We are proud to be American
Americans come in all different colors, cultures, and creeds but we something happens to our country we all feel the pain. Our flag becomes a bandage and we become closer to each other more than ever. It reminds us how privileged we are to live in a country like America.
September 11, 2001 is a tragedy but a milestone that shows how Americans can come back from anything. People will always try to tear you down but you show your strength by getting back up, no matter how long it takes.