How do we honor a day we don’t remember?


Laura Smith

The 9/11 Memorial in March 2012.

As a preschooler, senior Kendall Tipton’s daily daycare routine was more or less the same: his mom would drop him off, and he would sit and watch Sesame Street to pass the early minutes. But on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, Sesame Street wasn’t on.

Kendall didn’t understand until years later why his favorite TV program wasn’t playing. Now, he’s one of the few students at Canyon High who remembers anything at all about 9/11.

How do you observe a day you don’t remember?

Thirteen years ago, terrorists attacked on American soil. Canyon High School sophomores were almost 3 years old. The freshmen were still in diapers. 9/11 has become a video of towers falling and people jumping, more like an action movie than an event.

The intense awareness of 9/11 in school ended before current high school students could comprehend what had happened and how it impacted America. Students don’t remember America before 9/11. The lack of knowledge of an event could allow the same situation to occur again. Students focus on the remembrance of 9/11, not on what happened. Our parents observed Pearl Harbor Day without the memory of what happened. 9/11 is this generation’s Pearl Harbor.

9/11 is this generation’s Pearl Harbor.”

— Staff

The facts have been blurred. Internet sources have obscured the facts with the cleansing of political correctness and a softening of the harshness of reality. Four planes. 19 hijackers. 2,975 deaths. At 9:37 a.m. Eastern time, Flight 77 crashes into the Pentagon. The South Tower falls at 9:59 a.m. Flight 93 crashes in a Pennsylvania field at 10:03 a.m. The North tower fell 25 minutes later.

Some students say 9/11 did not affect Canyon, Texas or even the United States. Their memories of America before 9/11 are, at best, vague. Yet, 9/11 did change America and even Canyon, Texas. The Amarillo Airport now takes dozens of precautions before allowing people to board a plane. Canyon families lost children who were killed in wars in the Middle East following the terrorist attack. The lives of hundreds of families who lost mothers, fathers, children, siblings and friends that day were forever altered. The economic impact lasted years and the sense of security once taken for granted by generations past vanished in minutes.

So how can we honor an event we don’t remember? The answer does not lie in our memories. Memory is not needed to honor those who died, many in heroic sacrifice to save others. Honor requires a willingness to learn the facts and live effectively in a post-9/11 world. It requires us to remember not as individuals, but as a country, the lessons learned and lives lost on 9/11.

What do today’s students know about 9/11?

Read the statistics of 9/11.

Visit the interactive timeline of 9/11.

Learn more about the World Trade Center and the attack.

Read memories of 2013-2014 staff members.

Read faculty and student memories on the 10th anniversary in 2011.