For the generation of Americans who lived through World War II, each anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor brought back vivid and, no doubt, raw memories. But it was through their observance of the day that succeeding generations have understood its significance. As we note another year’s passing since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, it is worth reflecting upon how future generations will come to appreciate an event that most Americans living today witnessed — one that demanded so much bravery, resilience and healing.
The 9/11 mantra of “never forget” is a powerful one, and it is in this spirit that I want to note this year’s anniversary and recall once more the tremendous loss of life in the attacks in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, DC.
We should also use this occasion to remember those who rushed to our defense during the dark hours after the attack: the first responders, in particular. And, of course, on Drexel’s campus — which is the academic home for hundreds of student-veterans — we should appreciate the members of the military who have been in harm’s way safeguarding our freedom ever since. Just this past June at Commencement, we congratulated 18 Drexel graduates who were commissioned as officers and are now taking leadership posts in the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps.
The events of 9/11 impacted the lives of millions — from the survivors, to the families who lost loved ones, to the soldiers deployed to thwart terrorism. We pause in our daily routines today to remember the sacrifice, and the lessons, in the hope that future generations will learn to do the same.