Should 9/11 be a national holiday? (And why it probably never will be)
Monmouth County Commissioner Director Thomas Arnone is calling for an official 9/11 holiday, rekindling a debate that is unlikely to result in a new federal holiday.
"On behalf of the Monmouth County Board of County Commissioners," Arnone said in a news release, "I am calling on state and federal legislators to make September 11th an official holiday to honor the victims, first responders, volunteers and all who were affected by the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001."
New Jersey lost 750 souls in the attack — more than any state other than New York. Of those, 539 were still technically classified as "missing" when the New Jersey State Police stopped updating a webpage of those unrecovered. The page now serves as a memorial to all who died.
Arnone insists an officials remembrance day is needed to help future generations understand what took place.
"Those of us who lived through the attacks of 9/11 will never forget, but we now need to make sure that our children, and their children, understand the importance of this day," Arnone says, "The events of 9/11 should be in every history book in our schools and there should be an official holiday to make the magnitude of this day clear."
Despite the impact of 9/11 to New Jersey and the nation, it is unlikely that an official federal holiday will be declared.
In 2001, Congress did designate Sept. 11 as "Patriot Day," a national day of mourning for the victims of 9/11, but it is not an official federal holiday.
While many have suggested turning it into federal holiday, there are multiple factors working against the idea.
Historians note that American holiday's typically do not commemorate tragedies, for one.
Creating new holidays is rare. There have only been four in the past century.
There is also an economic factor that plays into the decision.
USA Today reported in 2018 that adding a new federal holiday, with paid time off for federal employees, could cost taxpayers over $430 million dollars.
A growing number of lawmakers have also suggested in recent years that there are already too many federal holidays, and have suggested getting rid of Columbus Day.
It's possible New Jersey could create an official state holiday, but efforts to do so in the past have failed, and for many of the same reasons listed above.
Still, Arnone, says it should be done.
"While our world has changed dramatically, this is one thing we need to stay united on: we need to make sure what happened on September 11, 2001 does not happen again, is always remembered and never forgotten."
Eric Scott is the senior political director and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at email@example.com
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