The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
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It’s time to return to the old motto: ‘Never Forget’

Thirteen years ago today, this nation was gripped by the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001. Today’s anniversary is a good time to reflect on what that day actually meant for the college-aged generation and the importance we should place in remembrance.
We were young when it happened, I know. According to Texas A&M’s latest published enrollment summary, more than three quarters of students are between the ages of 18 and 25. They were aged 5-12 on that tragic day.
Thirteen years is a long time to remember something, especially when that event happened during childhood. But it is important for college-aged individuals to not just think about that day as “history” relegated to musty textbooks — we need to remember.
I think people in the millennial generation have forgotten we were under attack that day. Time can make even the most tragic events seem far removed, and it is easy to become apathetic to the fact that terrorists killed thousands of people on purpose. It wasn’t just some sad accident. It’s important we remember the 2,982 people whose names are listed around the 9/11 Memorial displays where the Twin Towers once stood.
Those memorials stand outside the 9/11 Memorial and I was able to visit them during my time in New York for a media internship. It was just two months, but I still felt the sting 9/11 left behind. Maybe it’s because we are so far away, here in our small Texas city. Maybe it’s because we were so young when it happened. But regardless of the reason, people in the millennial generation seem to have forgotten we once drew cards for the mourning families as kids, promising to “Never Forget.”
Walking around the museum, I saw horrible things — things that put that day in perspective.
I saw victims’ shoes. I heard the final goodbye from a man trapped on the 84th floor, preserved forever as a voicemail recording. I saw floppy disks, pens, gloves, laptops, purses. A police officer’s badge. A firefighter’s uniform. Everyday belongings made achingly poignant by the deceased who once used them.
Some of the memorial’s artifacts seemed surreal. A fire truck that was completely flattened, a chunk of the communication antennae that once stood proudly atop the North Tower and a piece of the metal steel-framing — thicker than five people standing shoulder to shoulder — bent like a copper wire from the building’s stresses.
I went to the 9/11 Memorial Museum for the same reason many others my age probably did — to pay my respects and out of a slight sense of curiosity. I left with a new understanding for that day and a mental age gap closed.
People were charged up about it for the same reason I’m charged up now. It feels like people aren’t honoring 9/11 as the momentous, heartrending event it is. It’s being forgotten when we promised to never forget, being pushed aside when we once pushed it to the front. It feels like the camaraderie and patriotism it inspired in Americans is falling back apart.
As a university built on patriotism and military values, it’s time for Aggies to remind each other of why that day still matters, and why it’s still important that we students never forget.
Lindsey Gawlik is a
telecommunication and
media studies junior.

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