Lessons about 9/11 that We Fotgot

Today is the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on New York City and the Pentagon.  Our Country said it is a day we will never forget, however people in the early 20s were too young to remember and teenagers were not even born.  They most likely have heard numerous stories about that day, but they did not experience the fear we all felt and the uncertainty we all were struggling with that day.  9/11 was the first time in history that the mainland of the United States had ever been attacked.  It happened often in Europe but never here in the United States.  On that day the safety we all were use to was destroyed. There will be a number of television documentaries this weekend about 9/11.  Parents you may want to watch one of these documentaries with your children and discuss with them how they feel and answer any questions it may bring up.

There was something else that changed that day too.  We witnessed how our first responders all pulled together in order to help victims and secure the Country.  They did not come together for a day, they came together for months and exposed themselves to deadly dust and the possibility that building may further crash in on them killing them.  They thought nothing about themselves.  They were only thinking about helping survivors and families who lost loved ones.  It was also amazing to see how first responders from all over the Country came to New York City and Washington D.C. to help.  They also planned on being there for as long as needed which was several months.  Regardless of the length of time our first responders were working 24 hours a day, seven days a week and no one complained.

We also witnessed citizens volunteer to help the first responders.  We even witnessed a plane of citizens sacrifice their lives in order to protect a plane that was planning on hitting the White House.  We all came together regardless of race, sexual preference, socioeconomic status and worked together.  We were all Americans and we were going to work together to prove to the terrorist and the world that no one could stop the United States of America.  Besides the citizens who volunteered at the sites that were attacked, people from all over the Country donated money, clothes and supplies for homes.  Many people had lost their homes, survivors had medical bills and the first responders needed food, clothes and places to sleep.  The main point is we all came together as Americans so we could help protect and save Americans impacted by this attack.

We owe a great debt to our first responders and we still do.  Our first responders are responding the same way to the pandemic.  They are working 24/7 to help victims of the pandemic and to help families who have lost loved ones.  Many physicians and nurses have not had a day off since the pandemic started.  The first responders continue helping victims of the pandemic while having to also help victims of hurricanes, floods and fires all over the Country. They do not think about themselves, they only think about the jobs and the people they need to save.

While our first responders continue to selflessly respond to the needs of our country, the citizens of our Country do not.  Instead we are fighting with each other about who is right.  The part that is really disgraceful is we are fighting with first responders and essential workers.  When they have asked people to follow guidelines which have been established many of them have been beaten and some even have been shot and killed.  We have a pandemic that has killed over 650,000 Americans.  The tragedy on 9/11 killed over 3000 Americans.  What would have happened after the planes hit the Twin Towers in New York City on 9/11 if we argued with first responders and if we shot at the first responders?  I am afraid to think what would have happened.

Parents if you compare what is happening in our Country today with how people responded on 9/11, it is very disappointing.  It seems like we have forgotten.  We are not acting together as one Country, we are fighting with each other and we are emphasizing our differences.  Parents try thinking back 20 years ago and explain to your children what it was like when we all acted together as one and we were all proud of our Country and that we were all working together.  Maybe if we can explain this to our children and teenagers maybe they can start to work together and once again be proud about all of us being Americans.

Dr. Michael Rubino is a psychotherapist who has over 24 years experience treating children and teenagers and trauma victims including first responders.  For more information about his work visit his website at www.RubinoCounseling.com or his Facebook page www.Facebook.com/Drrubino3 or his podcasts on Spotify or Apple

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