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Never Forget: 16 Years Ago Today


American flag flies over Toms River's 9/11 ceremony
American flag flies over Toms River’s 9/11 ceremony (Dan Alexander, Townsquare Media NJ)

Many will wake up this morning and not realize the significance of the day even though we all vowed never to forget.

It’s not that we’ve forgotten but time waits for no one and a lot has happened over the past 16 years.  I remember that first anniversary in 2002 when it seemed like just about every town and community held some type of observance and for a number of years after that many still marked 9/11 with special memorials.

However there are only a few local events scheduled for today including one at Ocean County College.

Of course it’s a bit different in New York City where once again the anniversary the meaning of the day until it dawned on them that it is September 11th which to me is among the three most unforgettable dates in modern history defined by generations.

You also have December 7, 1941 which of course is the date of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and November 22, 1963 when President John F. will be marked at Ground Zero with a memorial service attended by many family members of the nearly 3000 people who died that day.  Since then many others have also died from the result of the toxic fumes inhaled during recovery efforts as clearly the tragedy of 9/11 extended past that September morning.

I said at the beginning that many likely woke up this morning not even realizing Kennedy was assassinated.

Ask someone from the greatest generation and they will never forget December 7 and many baby boomers will tell you November 22 is the date they most remember while in the case of Generation X and millennials 9/11 resonates like no other date.

History tells us future generations will have their own version of these three tragic dates simply because that’s the way it is.

However all of us should take a moment today to think about September 11, 2001 which started as a pristine late summer day and quickly became an unimagined tragedy.  We vowed then to never forget so we owe it to those lost to at least pause and reflect at some point whether through prayer or simply our own moment of silence.

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