If you are an American, there is a possibility that you are unhappy about something. A July survey by analytic hub Gallup.com suggests that immigration, government dissatisfaction, economic issues, and unemployment are amongst the problems of most concern to the American public.
On Monday September 8, Gallup measured Congress’ approval rate at 14 percent, the lowest since 1974, in the fall preceding a midterm election. On the bright side, unrest assures a hike in voters—albeit grumpy ones.
While there is plenty to complain about, today is not the day for that. Today, the thirteenth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks, is a less-than-subtle reminder that our freedoms are still better than those of most people around the world. As the conflict between Israel and Palestine continues, and further violence is waged in Ukraine, it is important to keep in mind the safety we often take for granted.
We all remember where we were thirteen years ago when the news broke. I remember the confusions of myself and my third-grade classmates, as my horrified teacher Ms. Gravel did her best to explain what was happening. There are only two historical moments in my short lifetime in which I can recall exactly where I was when groundbreaking news spread like wildfire: that gut-wrenching September morning in Ms. Gravel’s classroom, and May 2, 2011 shortly after 1 A.M. Returning to our hotel in Disney World, myself and many of the same students from third grade heard the news while on a class trip as graduating high school seniors.
Images of the World Trade Center Towers shrouded in smoke are imprinted in our minds forever; images of the Pentagon, too. There is no forgetting the harrowing screams of those trapped inside as they lost their lives or the disturbing sight of those leaping from the towers in an act of desperation.
September 11 is an annual day of remembrance due to a national tragedy. It is pertinent to feel for those whose lives were lost and for their loved ones as well. Demanding equal vitality is appreciation for our service people who protected our freedoms in resulting conflicts.
The front page of the Tuesday September 9 edition of The New York Times donned a sorrowful photo of a young brother and sister that were victims of a shelling near Mariupol, Ukraine. While that harrowing day thirteen years ago will always haunt us, I am thankful that it has not been a day duplicated.
As Americans, our daily lives rarely demand that we fear our homes will explode any moment underneath an air raid attack. It sounds absurd to imagine living in such devastating fear on a daily basis, but plenty of innocent people around the world do.
Our country is perhaps more divided now than it has been in decades. Government distrust is at an alarming all-time high, with minimal help from N.S.A. controversies that have popped up in recent years. There is a wealth of issues for Americans to disagree about, regardless of political inclinations. However, there is one notion that can be agreed upon today.
Today, September 11, 2014, we can agree to feel blessed that our national security is intact. While cities around the world are reduced to rubble, we can be thankful that such is not happening on our soil. Furthermore, we can hope for the safety of civilians around the world less fortunate than us.
Unhappy Americans, you need not be happy if you choose not to be. A day of remembrance is not a happy day. Rather, it is a day of appreciation for the freedoms we have—a day to take some time to reflect what makes our oft-forgotten freedoms so significant.