Those of us who were alive and sentient 20 years ago remember exactly where we were when we saw the twin towers collapse and heard that other planes went down.
Some of us are old enough to remember exactly where we were when we heard, many years before, that JFK had been shot and killed.
I expect that most young people today, who have no direct memory of either, will continue to remember 1/6/21, when a president of the United States instigated a deadly attack on the Capitol.
Dark days like these become etched in our memories. But more important is how these days altered history and changed our lives permanently, and what lessons we as a nation drew from them.
11/22/63 made Lyndon Johnson president, which led to the tragic escalation of the Vietnam War.
9/11/01 motivated Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld to launch a 20-year war on terrorism.
1/6/21 marked the culmination of Trump’s attempted coup, and perhaps the start of something far worse.
All of these days now provoke the standard sentiments from politicians that “our hearts go out” to the families of those who perished. Yes, of course.
But I wish these grim anniversaries also invited more consideration of what America has become as a result – war-prone, fearful, and deeply divided.
Crossposted with permission from Robert Reich's Blog