15 years ago, 2,996 lives were taken in a matter of minutes right before our eyes. 

I was two at the time, so I don't remember anything happening, but the impact of 9/11 carried through with me my entire life. But why, some ask, is it such a big deal to remember this day over a decade later? To me, that question points out a problem in our society today: we are selfish. 

15 years ago, 2,996 people started their days like every other day. They woke up, ate, went to work, wondering what would be for dinner tonight. Their friends and families probably said "Don't come home too late" and "See you at dinner"; but dinner never came. Today, their loved ones are eating dinner with empty chairs, one or two less cups at the table. Yes, people die every day. People are probably dying as you read this. But 15 years ago on this day, our country took a hit and many sacrificed themselves for us. We were affected as an entire nation and we had to learn to recover together. This was and is still not a battle we can fight on our own. 

Brock Turner, a Stanford student, recently was released from jail after only serving three months for rape. This caused outrage from many people, but many others passed over the news or even was glad he was out because "it's old news." How selfish does that sound? We may pass by this news as another headline in the paper, but that girl who was hurt has to carry the headline in her head for years to come. No one gets to decide if that pain is fresh or old. No one gets to decide how big or small the impact was for her. No one gets to decide her pain but herself and by calling this "old news," we are minimizing the pain and trauma she went, is going, and will go through. 

And that is the same when people call 9/11 "old news" or feel that it should not be a big day for us anymore. One, twenty, one-hundred years could pass and the impact should still be the same. Of course, people learn to let go and heal, but that pain and that memory is still engrained into their hearts and minds. As it should be for all of us. Our country was threatened, hurt, and lives were taken and sacrificed. For the past fifteen years, we made efforts to recover from the pain and mend the wholes it made. Nothing is perfect now, and perfection is thousands of miles away, but progress is now and progress is still to come. Mistakes have been made during the progress and other people have also been hurt. But the important thing for all of us to learn is to be humble, spread love, and forgive. We are still working on all of the above, but I believe that we can become better. 

To add on one last time, this is not a reminder to think of in terms of just politics. This is a reminder to live life humbly, lovingly, and forgivingly. This is a reminder that the fact that you are breathing, no matter what you are going through and what you are feeling, is a fact to rejoice over every single day. There are beautiful blessings in our lives that we take for granted and ignore every day. This is a reminder to be grateful for those gifts, because you really never know when they will be taken away. So live every day to the fullest with no regrets. Live every day for the people who couldn't make it to today. Take a hike to the tallest hill in your community. Volunteer at an elementary school. Stay up late with your friends and talk about the most ridiculous and honest things. Eat dinner with your loved ones at home.

You don't know if or if not it will be the last supper. 

Published by Hannah Lee