9/11 deserves respect and remembrance on campus

Sept. 9, 2013

Staff Editorial
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It was a regular Tuesday sunrise. Rays of early-morning dawn crept over the horizon at 6:46 a.m. in Colorado as parents, teachers, students, dentists, lawyers, police officers and pastry chefs donned the clothes they wore any normal week to go to work like any normal day.

And then it all changed.

At that moment, a hijacked plane carrying 87 passengers and crew along with a few Islamic terrorists from the group al-Qaeda crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City.

Within 77 minutes, three more planes crashed into the South Tower, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and a field in Pennsylvania.

Both towers fell, and widespread panic rippled across the nation and around the world. All told, nearly 3,000 Americans – along with 19 terrorists – died that day.

For many 18- and 19-year-old students, 9/11 may just be the day school was canceled. For others able to remember the events of that terrible morning, it remains a grim, shocking reminder of the pain and misery caused by evil men who intend to wreak havoc on liberty.

Countless changes in domestic and foreign policy can be traced to the events of 9/11: the passage of the PATRIOT Act, the creation of the Department of Homeland Security and the subsequent invasions and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Across the country, memorials dominate the losses of that day and its remembrance leads nightly TV broadcasts.

But when it comes to this campus, its memorial is hardly a topic.

There are flyers on corkboards, no moment of silence and not a single campus-sponsored event to honor the lives of those lost.

When the library clock thunders on the hour, a student or two may give the day and time a second thought, but nothing more.

It cannot be attributed to the fact that this is a college campus and students are concerned more about paying for their classes or trotting along to a social event on the West Lawn.

The maturity of the student body and the strong military presence on campus are both indications the issue instead resides with a lackluster attempt to set aside time and resources for the things that really matter.

If students and staff can promote events like Earth Day, Coming Out Week or Bike Month, surely they can set aside a single day to commemorate the lives of those lost that morning as they worked toward the American dream – and honor the bravery of those who have fought to protect that freedom ever since.

Some on campus have taken up the lantern to remember the day, but – while important – their efforts pale in comparison to the voice the campus has given to other,less pertinent issues.

While it happened more than a decade ago, the events of that day changed the course of history and continue to impact domestic and foreign policy, the narrative of intervention in foreign conflicts and the perseverance of freedom on a daily basis.

The fact that America is still engaged in the warfare that started that day is reason enough to keep the topic front and center. Recent events in the Middle East impacted by 9/11 precedent add to its topicality.

The administration should take the opportunity to educate those too young to remember and those too apathetic to care.