20 Years Later: What Have We Learned—and Forgotten—After 9/11?

This week marks 20 years since the tragic events of 9/11 that killed nearly 3,000 Americans at the hands of terrorists. The nation promised to “never forget,” but what have we really learned—and forgotten—as we commemorate this dark time?

First, many Americans have forgotten how evil our enemies can be. Al Qaeda spent months if not years of planning to kill thousands of innocent people. Yet the Biden administration continues to work with their Taliban buddies as Afghanistan has been handed back to the same enemies who still want to kill Americans.

Second, many Americans have forgotten what it has taken to maintain peace. Former President Donald Trump knew a strong border was one essential part of national security, and did something about it. Biden has no clue how many bad guys are already in our country due to his open border policies.

Third, the Biden administration has missed the difference between compassion and stupidity. Compassion is moving people whose lives have been threatened out of Afghanistan. Stupidity is boarding tens of thousands of people from a hostile nation and flying them into our nation as refugees. Sure, many of those people are glad to escape. But 9/11 took just over a dozen people. There are certainly more than a dozen bad apples among the Afghans already flown into our nation.

Fourth, on the positive side, our nation does seem to have learned more about the value of life. Between war, terrorism and the pandemic, more Americans are thinking about making an impact with their lives. Moms want to be home with their kids. Dads want to be with their family more and travel less.

Fifth, 9/11 reminds many of us of the sacrifices others have made on our behalf. While some still want to kneel at the National Anthem or feel “triggered” by the flag, many Americans know the flag represents something special. We stand at attention, sing along with the National Anthem and may even shed a tear remembering those who have lost their lives to protect ours.

Sixth, 9/11 reminds us of the need for patriotic leaders. Many Americans remember then-New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani serving as the voice of hope needed to deal with the tragedy of 9/11. George W. Bush was president, but Rudy was viewed as the voice of the moment. Sadly, many Americans have now turned against the same man out of hatred for Trump rather than respecting the commitment he made for America during those difficult days following the worst terror attack in American history.

A look back prompts us to look forward. Where will our nation be 20 years from now? At its current rate, the picture doesn’t look good. But as 9/11 taught us, our darkest moments don’t have to define our future. There’s still the potential for change, but we all need to do our part to live out the best of America as we seek to “never forget.”


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