We need to tell young people about what happened on 9/11. We need to tell them who did it to us. And we need to tell them why they did it to us.
As we commemorate the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks, it is important to remember that nearly all children in school today were born after that day. Generation Z only knows what others tell them about what happened on September 11, 2001.
Considering the radical indoctrination that most young people are subjected to these days, we should be concerned that entire generations may not fully understand the significance of what took place on September 11th. We have to tell them the truth.
With that in mind, Young America’s Foundation (YAF) puts on the 9/11: Never Forget Project each year. We help students put up 2,977 American flags on campus at their college or high school. Each flag represents one of the innocent lives lost that day at the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon in Virginia, or over the fields of Pennsylvania.
Since the program began in 2003, YAF has helped students put up more than 12 million flags all across the nation. In addition to campuses and schools, this year, there are flag displays on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., along the beaches of Santa Barbara, California, near the Reagan Ranch Center, and in Dixon, Illinois, adjacent to the Reagan Boyhood Home. Each will be a moving tribute to the innocent lives lost and the heroic actions of our first responders.
Remembering what happened twenty years ago should be one of those rare things that unite the country. Sadly, the woke left is even undermining this obvious tribute.
YAF recently exposed a webinar titled “Culturally Responsive and Inclusive 9/11 Commemoration,” hosted by the Virginia Department of Education. It featured Amaarah DeCuir, a lecturer at American University in the School of Education. She told teachers to focus their lesson plans on the “social, emotional needs of Muslim students” and discouraged them from talking about the details of what happened that day because it would be “harmful and damaging to the needs of our students.”
DeCuir began by undermining the United States. “We’re also not going to reproduce what’s understood as American exceptionalism. This understanding that America is a land at the top of a beautiful mountain and that all other countries, nations, and people are less than America,” she said. She then continued, “We’re not going to reproduce notions that American history and American experiences are more significant than the experiences or histories of other people.”
This anti-America woke crap is undermining our country. Fact check: More than 1 million people legally immigrate to the United States every year. Our country has more foreign-born citizens than any other country globally—the next closest is about four times fewer. People come here because of the promise of America that all people are created equal and endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights. That is what makes us exceptional. And that is what we must fight to protect.
Over the years, students organizing the 9/11: Never Forget Project have also run into resistance from radical voices on campus. Amazingly, one of those places was Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Texas. They tried to push the display of the 2,977 flags off of Dallas Hall Lawn. YAF exposed their efforts, and they reversed their decision after the press coverage.
Students at Lake Forest High School in Illinois were told to move their flag memorial display off of school grounds. Students at Stetson University had their 9/11 memorial chalked with anti-American rhetoric. Administrators at Maryville University oddly told the students in the Young Americans for Freedom chapter that they could only put up 500 of the 2,977 flags in the memorial. The students put them up anyway.
It seems that radicals want to rewrite history. Sadly, their efforts align with the words of the Taliban, who are now trying to claim that radical Islamic terrorists were not responsible for what happened on September 11th. Rather, they are promoting the absurd claim that the United States is responsible for the attacks.
Twenty years ago, I never envisioned a time when people would not remember the chaos, the tragedy, the pain, and the terror. I yearn for the days that followed when Americans set aside our differences and focused on our real foes: the radical Islamic terrorists.
We knew then, as we should now, that they attacked us because of our freedom. New York represented our economic freedom, and Washington, D.C. represented our political freedom. Oppressors are threatened by freedom. Now, more than ever, we must learn from our past so we can protect that freedom.
• Scott Walker was the 45th governor of Wisconsin. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him @ScottWalker.