The attacks of September 11, 2001 forever changed the United States and set in motion a series of events that would impact the U.S. military and millions of service members who served in what would become the Global War on Terror.
Although the deployments have slowed for the U.S. military, and Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom are now in the history books, there are still thousands of U.S. military personnel deployed in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. Many U.S. service members continue to deploy to combat terrorism.
Not long after the 9/11 attacks, there was an intense surge of patriotism and Americans posted U.S. flags on their homes, gathered to build care packages for deployed troops, and many flocked to the ranks to enlist and serve. It is hard to believe but many of those who enlisted not long after 9/11 are now eligible for retirement if they continued to serve in the military.
Now, 21 years later, while the day is still very vivid for millions, a growing number of Americans, because of their young age at the time of the attacks, hardly remember the fateful day. Others have simply moved on, tired of watching 20 plus years of war.
But for veterans who served in the nation’s longest war, we never forget. Many of us here at USAMM have worn the uniform and have served, including our CEO who enlisted in the Army because of 9/11. He also served in Iraq. We’ve employed veterans from all branches of service, including combat wounded veterans.
For the families and people who lost a loved one on that tragic day, 9/11 is a day for pause and reflection. Some remember, and others celebrate those who died that day, remembering who they were and what they brought to life.
Honoring 911 shouldn’t require a lot of inspiration if you were alive that day in 2001 and honoring 911 doesn’t have to be cumbersome for it to be meaningful. Here are some ideas.
1. Honoring 911 by Flying the Flag
While many Americans fly the U.S. flag at their homes or places of business, many others don’t, not because they are not patriotic, but they just haven’t thought about it. Honoring 911 can be as easy as flying the U.S. flag.
As previously mentioned, shortly after 9/11, Americans posted the colors in numbers not seen since World War II. There was a surge of national pride.
Certainly, two decades of war can cause the nation to have battle fatigue, but in general, most around the country remember to take out their flags and fly them on 9/11.
Flags are available just about anywhere unlike in the days after 9/11. USAMM is proud to keep flags in stock.
2. Honoring 911 by Sending a Care Package
Millions of U.S. service members deployed overseas to combat terrorists since 9/11. Many of them deployed multiple times. It’s hard to not run into a veteran who hasn’t deployed if they served in the last 20 years.
Not long after 9/11, some Americans felt that honoring 911 could be done by sending care packages. They sent treats, toiletries, books, magazines, coffee, etc.
Today, many Americans believe that the deployments for the Global War on Terror (GWOT) have stopped, but that’s not the case. Active duty, reserve and National Guard personnel continue to deploy overseas in support of anti-terror operations. And while many of the places U.S. troops are deployed are established and have creature comforts, many of the items that American service members crave are usually not readily available. Honoring 911 by sending some troops care packages is a great way to commemorate 9/11.
Some military member favorites are beef jerky, meat sticks, paperback books, magazines, toilet paper, soap, shampoo, razors, shaving cream, batteries, toaster pastries, chips, protein bars, protein powder, rehydration mix, cookies, toothpaste, toothbrushes, feminine hygiene products, grooming items for men and women, sunscreen, lip balm, and anything else that you can think of that will transport easily without breaking or spoiling.
3. Honoring 911 by Donating to a 9/11 Cause
There are numerous charities and organizations that have sprung into existence after 9/11. Some organizations help first responders who have grown ill from breathing the dust at Ground Zero, and others help the families of fallen veterans who died serving in the GWOT.
Honoring 911 can be as easy and meaningful as finding a good organization to donate to which will help people directly impacted from 9/11. This goes beyond throwing money at something. This is a direct way to impact the lives of those affected by 9/11.
While many of the families directly impacted by 9/11 might have been covered by health and life insurance, sky-high medical expenses are left behind and many of these charities establish funds to help families who lost a loved one or have someone to care for as a result of 9/11.
4. Honoring 911 by Visiting Attack Sites
Everyone should make the trek to see at least one of the 9/11 sites. Whether it is the 9/11 Memorial at the Pentagon, the 9/11 Memorial and Museum at Ground Zero, or the Flight 93 Memorial. Every American should make the time to visit these solemn grounds and reflect on what happened that day.
The Flight 93 Memorial is managed by the National Park Service. The other two sites are managed by non-profits.
In addition to visiting the sites, donations are accepted for two of those sites which are managed by non-profit organizations. Honoring 911 by visiting the sites and donating money to support their upkeep and awareness programs is a good way to help keep this important moment in American history alive for generations to come.
But beyond donating money, visiting these sites is stirring. It is overwhelming to be at the site where such a horrific human tragedy occurred.
5. Honoring 911 by Sharing
Probably the most important way of honoring 911 is to talk about it, especially to younger generations. Young Americans should be aware of what happened on 9/11 and having discussions with them is far more educational than what can be taught in a history book.
Honoring 911 by talking about where you were, what you were doing, what you saw, how you felt, is far more impactful to a person who is too young to remember 9/11.
The attacks of September 11, 2001 are an important part of American history. Everyday we should honor those who died that day, but we should undoubtedly do something to reflect on September 11th of every year.