A day of infamy for today’s generation

There are historical dates that, as Franklin Roosevelt said of one particular Sunday, “will live in infamy.” Of course the day to which he was referring was Dec. 7, 1941, the attack on Pearl Harbor prompting America’s entrance into World War II.

These dates are etched in our collective memory and each generation has a shared experience or two which triggers an immediate emotional response.

Americans 55 and older can recall where they were, what they were doing and maybe even what they were wearing, on Nov. 22, 1963. Even if we can’t remember the name of our third grade teacher or who sat next to us in homeroom, we remember minute details of that afternoon when we learned President Kennedy had been shot and killed in Dallas.

Unfortunately, our children are growing up with their own “day of infamy.” Anyone in their late teens and older shares in the national pain of what transpired in New York City, Washington, D.C. and in a field near Shanksville, Pa., 12 years ago today … Sept. 11, 2001.

9/11 as it is now known, became many things, a wake up call, a battle cry and a painful reminder of the reality of the world we live in.

On this day not only do we remember the innocent lives lost aboard those four planes, in the World Trade Center and the Pentagon Building, but we remember and honor the 411 emergency workers, firefighters, police and other first responders who rushed into a towering inferno, with only one goal, to save lives, never to emerge.

There will be remembrances throughout the nation today, including an honor guard on the Michigan Technological University campus.

For most of us, however, these ceremonies, while fitting and proper, aren’t necessary. We don’t need any help in remembering what happened twelve years ago. It is a part of us … and always will be.