by Ashley Westbrook
The words “9/11” and “holiday” do not go together. When I hear the word holiday, I imagine a celebration. I see a kid eating fresh cotton candy, smearing it on her cheeks while getting some of the sticky residue on the teddy bear her father just bought her from an on-the-spot stand. When federal holidays like Christmas, Memorial Day and Independence Day come around, I think of the festivities I’m going to participate in later that day. When I think of 9/11, I think about a day of remembrance, a day where people should take a moment of silence to reflect on the horrific events that took place. 9/11 is a day when a nation’s people were torn apart and then, piece by piece, its own people sewed it back together again.
9/11 struck some Americans with a deafening silence. People described watching the events as something they’d never seen before. How could something like that happen to us? Why? What did we do to deserve it? The same questions could be applied to Pearl Harbor. The attack on Pearl Harbor left Americans with a deep cut, and it took a while for us to bounce back.
But that is what we do as a country. We always bounce back. We take tragedies such as 9/11 and Pearl Harbor and keep them in our minds. December 7 marks National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day and on September 4, 2002 President Bush marked September 11 as Patriot Day. Both days are marked on our calendars to be remembered. But celebrated as a holiday? I cannot agree.
Opposition to my opinion states that we should nationally stand and remember those who died in the Twin Towers, because those men and women lost their lives due to a terrorist attack. My response to this is that we have a national holiday that everyone can celebrate called Independence Day, and I don’t know a single person who doesn’t celebrate our freedom and patriotic spirit on that day.
If you want to take a look at holidays in this country and how they’re changing, look at how we treat Christmas. Christmas was a holiday celebrated, and basically accepted, by all− but things became culture sensitive so now we have workers at QuikTrip replying with, “Happy Holidays!” We treat Memorial Day as a “shopping” day. Businesses write in big bold letters on their store front windows to get consumers to come in and raid the place because of their “Memorial Day Sale.”
Personally, I don’t want the wound of 9/11 coming up every year to “celebrate” it. I want to keep the federal holidays we have in place now to keep a common theme. The list of our federal holidays include: New Year’s Day, the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr., Washington’s birthday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. I want it to remain with the idea that each day is celebrated by taking the day off and honoring what they contributed− peace, acceptance and a positive advancement in the world.