COLUMN: 9/11 memorials important to younger generation


Sydney Shelton | Sports Editor

Flags planted to honor the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, at a Healing Field in Huntington’s Spring Hill Cemetery. Marshall President Jerry Gilbert will be a guest speaker at a memorial event at the Spring Hill Cemetery Wednesday, Sept. 11.

It’s been 18 years since the horrific tragedy resulting in the loss of 2,977 lives and the destruction of the Twin Towers in New York City. Most of Marshall University’s first year students weren’t born yet or were infants when this devastation occurred. For that matter, many of Marshall’s seniors, including myself, were toddlers or young children when it happened. I have no memory of that day. 

It’s strange to think that this event is not remembered firsthand by most of America’s college students, and our country’s high schoolers obviously were not alive for it. Only the cultural memory exists in our minds. But those older than us make sure we understand the importance of the Sept. 11, 2001 tragedy. We are a generation who grew up understanding fear and heartache. We are also well aware of the hate that humans are capable of. In the aftermath of the tragedy, the pain is still tangible to us.

Each year, we see documentaries and videos of the events of Sept. 11, 2001. In school, I remember reading personal accounts and stories of that horrific day. These never cease to give me chills and hurt me to my very core. I honestly cannot imagine watching live footage of the plane crashes. How would I have reacted? As a journalist, I can’t imagine covering that tragedy. 

America was never the same after 9/11. Its citizens were forever changed and damaged. But, we’ve always been a resilient people. We overcame the attacks, and we do what we can to remember those we’ve lost.

It’s important to remember and honor the victims. It’s especially important for those of us who were too young to remember. There are ceremonies every year on the anniversary, and in the heart of New York City, there are memorials. I wish the day was revered as much as it should be; I fear that because so many of our young people don’t remember, many don’t or won’t care. Soon, we’ll be adults, and those who experienced it will get older. 

While we are taught about 9/11 in school, the conversation almost stops when we get to college, depending on our classes. Even though the events of that day didn’t happen close to Marshall, someone from Huntington perished in one of the crashes. It hits close to home. On the anniversary, there will be a memorial event at Spring Hill Cemetery in Huntington. Flags for every victim have been placed in the cemetary for a Healing Field. If we don’t go to memorial events,  we can still take a moment to pause and remember. Say a prayer, have a moment of silence, research the implications of this day that forever changed American history—not for the better. Don’t let the memory of those we’ve lost disappear. 

Amanda Larch can be contacted at [email protected].