It’s always too soon to forget

By By Shandette Woodward

By Shandette Woodward

Monday was a typical day filled with typical activities. On my way home, I was listening to the radio when a disc jockey received a call from a listener asking why he wasn’t talking about the awful events of Sept. 11. I continued to listen as he opened the question to others: Should he talk about it or not?

In reply, every caller mentioned the horror and disbelief of what had happened that dreadful day five years ago-but that they would rather just listen to music. I wonder: Is this how it is for those who lived during or survived Pearl Harbor? Most of this generation would be hard pressed to recall the exact date (Dec. 7).

Sept. 11 has in its way defined our generation, much like Pearl Harbor defined previous generations. Are we already dismissing what happened? Is it possible that we are already acting nonchalant about such an appalling event?

After each call, the disc jockey asked one thing: “You’d rather look forward than look back?” To which each caller replied in the affirmative.

Something was not right. I could not put my finger on what was bothering me, but I did not like that last sentence and the subsequent agreements. How can we look forward if we do not look back, remember and learn?

Think about it, our entire lives are surrounded with “looking back.” Each year we celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, etc. At each celebration, we look back to the good times and the bad ones and review how we have improved.

Why not look back to something so defining for our generation as Sept. 11?

What are you going to take with you throughout your life as a memento? “Wars are inevitable?” “You hurt us and we will hurt you?” “The Bush administration has acted rashly and with poor judgment?” These topics can be debated and argued about until the end of time. What I have learned is more basic.

At the end of my day on Sept. 11, 2006, I sat down and watched a portion of a documentary honoring those who fell and those who survived Sept. 11. The show incorporated real footage from the two French filmmakers who were documenting a New York fire department. One of the firemen said that on that day he realized how evil evil can be.

I compare his sentiment to one in the film “The World Trade Center,” directed by Oliver Stone, in which the final point was not only how Sept. 11 magnified the evil of the world, but also how that day magnified the heroism of the world.

Some may think that it is naive or gullible not to focus on evil and to believe in the goodness and compassion of which humans are capable. I disagree.

In the same documentary mentioned before, footage was shown of donations pouring into the fire stations. Many gave money, emotional support, time, etc. Some have dedicated their lives to helping others.

We can acknowledge the evil, but we have to make sure we focus on these things, as well. If we focus on evil, it will merely destroy us-individually and collectively. One lesson is clear: If you only focus on the goodness that surrounds you, maybe you’ll be encouraged to do good yourself-even when in the face of something as horrible as terrorism.