Amherst's famous commemorative flags honoring Patriot's Day
If you were there as it happened or simply watched as the visuals first started rolling in, the scenes becomes permanently etched in memory: those unmistakable sounds, smoke rising, chaos, people screaming, the wail of emergency vehicles reverberating off multi-story buildings, punctuated by a fear of the unknown. Who did this and why?
For "college aged youth" currently attending our esteemed institutes of higher education in one of the best college towns in America, Patriots Day will forever be remembered, because last year terrorists unleashed death and destruction in the heart of Boston.
Especially since it occurred at an event that celebrates the triumph of the human spirit, in a sport many still consider "pure".
And in patriotic Massachusetts, where pretty much everyone considers Boston, "our fucking city."
So flying the commemorative flags in downtown Amherst to remind us all of the terror we endured that day is hardly necessary. We remember. We always will.
Just as flying those same commemorative flags on 9/11 is unnecessary if done simply to remind us of the horrific destruction unleashed on our homeland that awful morning. How could any of us possibly forget?
But what if you were only 5-years-old and shell shocked adults sheltered you from the devastating images live streaming out of Manhattan, Washington D.C. and a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania?
This coming September the incoming 5,000+ freshman at our Colleges and University will, for the most part, have been only five years old on the morning of 9/11/01 -- too young to remember the chaos, sorrow and sheer terror that covered our country like a coroner's sheet.
Induced by the worst attack on American soil in our entire fucking history.
The commemorative flags are not scheduled to fly in downtown Amherst until 2016, to remember the 15th anniversary. And then not again until 2021 for the 20th anniversary, when the incoming freshmen classes will not even have been born on that ignoble day.
Thus, collectively, the malicious memory starts to fade -- like Pearl Harbor. And then suddenly, some fine morning as we busily go about our daily routine, it happens. Again.
Flying the commemorative American flags in downtown Amherst every 9/11, as we do every Patriot's Day (and Memorial Day), will serve to honor the memory of 3,000 slaughtered innocent Americans and to remind us that evil exists. It will always exist.
And without vigilance, evil triumphs.