Editors Note: This is an opinion piece. The opinions of this piece are of the writer, not of Patch. We'd love to hear your feedback and response in our comments.
Driving down Gulf Boulevard today, I noticed a lot of flags flying high in the sky. On any other day, this would instill me with a bit of patriotism, but today it made me feel a little disappointed.
Today is the 11th anniversary of 9/11, the single, largest attack on American soil. 9/11 was also the catalyst for Operation Enduring Freedom, which cost America the lives of many brave young soldiers.
This year, I've noticed certain things happening on the anniversary of 9/11 that I haven't noticed before. Flags, which are normally put at half-staff in honor of those who gave their lives, are flying full staff. New stations, like NBC, are skipping the moment of silence for those who died, and are instead running interviews with pop-culture celebrities.
Don't get me wrong. The flying of the flag at half-staff is a tricky issue, though it's in a proclamation from the President that it should be, and nobody is required to observe the minute of silence, not even news stations.
That's freedom in America. We are free to choose how we observe 9/11. That's one of the beautiful things about being an American.
What I believe I'm observing is the progression of 9/11 as a day of remembrance to a holiday. With the new generation who don't remember the reality of 9/11 getting older, the transition seems to be changing the meaning of the day into more of another American holiday.
This has been bound to happen, though. Take Pearl Harbor day as an example. As Americans, we don't have moments of silence for Pearl Harbor Day and only government offices will fly their flag at half-staff.
The only thing that surprises me is how quickly this came to be. 9/11's slogan has always been "Never Forget" and I feel we may be forgetting the meaning of what happened.
Maybe, I take 9/11 a little more personally than the common person and am reading too much into it. 9/11 was the trigger for me to join the U.S. Army. While I was never deployed to Afghanistan, I have many friends who were and many who have been disfigured and lost their lives due to improvised explosive devices.
When our children grow up, will they remember and revere 9/11 like we do. It's not likely they will. It's the nature of time passing and the attacks moving from memory to another page in the history books.
The one thing I can say is that I will remember. This veteran, this American will remember what happened. I'll remember the impact it had on my family, my friends and me. I'll remember the close ones I've lost because of 9/11, the people whose lives will never be the same. I'll remember how 9/11 has changed me.