Show respect Sept. 11

There have been questions flying around this campus these past two weeks, questions that have consistently rubbed me the wrong way.

Specifically, the question of why there is school Sept. 11.

Those of you who have been pondering this should ultimately be ashamed of yourselves. To question whether to attend class on a day that has affected every American alive is appalling.

A local radio talk show explained it last week in no uncertain terms. A day off of school, such as Labor Day or Independence Day, is primarily used by us college folk to plan a big barbecue and drink until our beer cans fall out of our hands.

As the first anniversary of our national tragedy looms over us, I cannot begin to think about throwing a party.

Sept. 11 should be considered a national day of mourning. Innocent people lost their lives in a senseless act of violence, and people around this campus, the “American future,” are curious about a free day of fun and sun? How can I express the disappointment I feel for my generation?

Though I did not know anyone who lost his or her life in the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks and the plane crash in Pennsylvania, it doesn’t change my mind about Sept. 11 being a day that should be held sacred by the American people.

I don’t believe I should be waving flags on Bayshore Boulevard at 3 o’clock in the afternoon. I don’t believe this is a time to celebrate. This disaster is still too fresh in our minds and hearts.

To be clear, I am not campaigning for a day to hang our heads and cry, and walk around as if a dark cloud is right above us. This is not a day to take too personally unless you lost someone. I am saying that it is not a time for making merry. It is a time for reflection and hope and (I cannot believe I am saying this) prayer.

I spent this summer in New York with my parents. I stood on the street and watched as the last piece of the World Trade Center wreckage was carried out. I looked into the eyes of many people who were hoping this would finally bring them closure. I dared not get too close, because it was not my place, nor my right. These people had lost loved ones, and all I had done was watch it unfold on CNN.

There were several children there, many very young, who didn’t have any kind of grasp on the enormity of the situation. All they knew was that their mom or dad wasn’t coming home. Until that very moment, Sept. 11 was sort of personal to me. Now I know it has no right to be.

Ultimately, how you choose to spend Sept. 11 is up to you. I just hope that you can find a sentimental way to commemorate the bravery of our lost citizens. I say this not to be stodgy, but because if anything like this ever happens again, it may be you or yours that we memorialize next.

Jessica Higgins is a junior majoring in mass