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Originally published: 2012-09-11 17:07:48
Last modified: 2012-09-11 17:07:48

9/11 must be no losing battle

Not so very long ago, when asked, "Remember when," we remembered.

We remembered that nearly 3,000 people died on Sept. 11, 2001, when coordinated attacks by 19 al-Qaeda terrorists drew blood on American soil.

We remembered the fear inspired by the ability of this then-unknown enemy to reach so intimately into our homeland.

We remembered the pride we felt as we came together as a nation to volunteer, fight and pray for help and healing, protection and patriotism.

Today, the question of "Remember when" is now too often followed by, "Remember when, what?"

Testimony to this will ring silently two days from now, on the anniversary of 9/11: Note the dearth of events memorializing the hijacking of commercial planes by those who had the intent of dying in order that they might kill others.

Perhaps, we might say, this is the dissipating nature of tragic memory: Today's problems earn priority in our lives, even to the point of assuming a degree of magnitude above the truly monumental.

Certainly, we do not pause on Dec. 7 as our grandparents did. And dates such as April 5 (when Richmond fell) or April 14 (when Lincoln was assassinated) resonate not at all with the general population.

Should 9/11 today be any different?

Yes.

Yes, because to forget so much, so soon, delegates to muffled history books -- books yet unwritten -- events that changed the course and future of our nation.

On Tuesday, the challenge before us will be to once more remember when -- and then to take this memory a step further, and remember why.