“Never Forget”

I remember when…

The first words of self-reflection or first-person historical accounts typically begin with similar words. For example, I remember when $15 filled up my 1987 Honda Accord. I remember what life was like without a cell phone. I remember when we all thought 2008 would correspond with flying cars.

I also remember when two planes crashed into the Twin Towers in New York City, along with the Pentagon and a rural field in Pennsylvania. I remember the day at work, watching events transpire on television, and knee-jerk reactions from people buying up all the water and food at local Wal-Mart stores. I also remember the phrase, slogan, and signs on 75% of America’s vehicles with the phrase, “Never Forget“. I was alive to experience it. I saw it. Many of you did too, and can recall your own reactions and feelings of that day.

I’m not here to personally reflect though. I don’t like “Chicken Soup for the Soul” moments shoved down my throat anymore than you do.

Instead, I’m here to regretfully say, one of this nation’s biggest tragedies and source of heartache, frustration, and anger…has indeed…been forgotten. No, not to those who remember it, but for the generation that followed; for the 4, 5, and 6 year olds who now attend my 6th grade classroom. This week was the 7th anniversary of “9-11“. A moment of silence was observed in most school’s, right at the time (8:46 EST) the first tower was directly hit. While the majority of students (ranging in ages 11-12) recalled what their parents had told them, or programs they had watched about that day, several mentioned last Thursday was the first time they had heard about “9-11”.

How did we forget? How does this happen? Does it take seven (7) years to forget something?

Now obviously, I’m not in the homes of my students…I don’t know what they’re taught, told, or reminded of. I understand the diversity and differences in culture, I even understand America may not be the “homeland” for thousands of today’s students. But I can’t comprehend an 11 or 12 year old living in America NOT knowing about September 11th.

I guess it’s not too unbelievable. I’m sure those Americans in the early 60’s never imagined a generation that didn’t know where Kennedy was shot, or what impact a man named Martin Luther King had on our society. Certainly, humans are prone to forgetfulness…especially if not reminded. We all choose to remember the things we want to and the the things we’re forced to. And maybe that’s just it…in seven years, a generation hasn’t been forced to remember what our country said we’ll NEVER FORGET.

The Return of Sport?

While the blades won’t hit the ice till early October, the nights of pure baseball on SportsCenter are about over. For me, that’s good enough for now. Sure, we had the Olympics distracting us for a few weeks, but football is what we’ve all been waiting for, right? This Thursday begins the 08-09 season, and as the baseball season comes to a finale (the best part mind you), most sports fans eagerly await what Favre will do with the Jets, how the Cowboys hype will pan out, and who’s going to shock us all.

Statistically speaking, July and August are fairly slow “Sports Months”, after the NBA and NHL crown their champions, and baseball passes it’s honeymoon stages following an April start. Tiger is gone for the year…and that hurts a little. Federer lost his #1 spot to Nadal…but that can make for some good drama. If you think about it (in this day and age), is there ever really an off-season? Can we still call Mid June to late August slow sports months anymore?

Most of us have the sports world at our fingertips. Sound too cliche? Name a phone that doesn’t allow you access to the scores of your favorite team. It’s no longer the “Big 4” of Football, Baseball, Basketball, and Hockey. Poker, X Games, and NASCAR are staples on the ESPN website, and have entire stations/broadcasts available for their fans. Down time?…it’s a thing of the past. If you like sport (not just sports), and enjoy competition, you can find it anytime in forms you never thought possible. From arm-wrestling to beach volleyball, and bowling to cycling, it’s there for the viewing.

For those of us who choose to write off a few of these previously mentioned sports as games/hobbies/activities, I guess we’ll always have the “down months” when we wait for the next season to start. But the landscape has changed, as the media, youth, and technology have created a new audience of sports fans. It’s also created more sports programming than ever before. 2am…and you can’t sleep? Read the ticker to find everything you missed and then some. While the die-hards wait for football to finally get started, others have been getting their fill with various other competitions that do the same thing…separate the best from the not-so-best, and give us a little bit of real life drama we so desperately seek.