Twenty Years Later—Remembering 9/11 tragedies, while staying well

by Sherri Kolade

It’s hard to believe that Sept. 11, 2001, was 20 years ago.

More than likely you remember where you were and what you were doing at that exact moment – if you’re old enough at least.

That traumatic moment was practically burned into the brains of millions of people and then replayed many times on a loop for countless Americans along with others watching all around the world.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, coping with traumatic events (and remembering them even 20 years later) can be hard on the mind.

A traumatic event is described as something shocking, scary, or dangerous that can impact someone emotionally and physically. Situations like natural disasters (including hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, even pandemics), acts of violence (like assault, abuse, terrorist attacks and mass shootings) and other trauma-inducing situations could increase people’s risk for physical or mental health issues afterward.

Responses due to trauma can be immediate or delayed, occur for a short time, or be prolonged, according to the article. Typically, people have “intense responses” right afterward, and for the most part, for several weeks or months after a traumatic event.

These responses could be:

  • Feeling anxious, sad or angry
  • Trouble thinking and sleeping
  • Constantly thinking about what took place

The nation and the world will be reflecting on the nearly 3,000 lives lost and the more than 6,000 people injured during the September 11 attacks. Remembering and commemorating the lives of those who died during the attacks is something being done nationally and across the globe with the intent being  to help continue the healing.

To mark the 20th anniversary, the National September 11 Memorial & Museum is launching a campaign to actively engage people in remembrance and education, according to a press release.

Housed at the original World Trade Center site in lower Manhattan, the Memorial & Museum is continuing to educate the next generation about the ways 9/11 still impacts the world. As part of this effort, the Memorial & Museum launched The Never Forget Fund to support its educational programs, and ensure each new generation understands the lessons of 9/11.

“Remembrance remains at the heart of the Memorial & Museum’s mission,” said Alice M. Greenwald, president and CEO.

“About 100 million Americans have no memory of the 9/11 attacks – or the shared grief and resolve that united the country and the world,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, chairman of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum. “The Memorial & Museum were erected as much for them as for those who died. The greatest tribute we can pay to those we lost is to ensure that their lives – and the incredible displays of courage and sacrifice that affirmed our common humanity – are never forgotten and that their stories are passed down from generation to generation.”

To learn more, please visit www.neverforget.org.

Whether grieving the loss of others from national tragedies, current pandemics, or overall stress-related issues, the National Institute of Mental Health wants to help.

Mental health conditions can be treated at varying levels.

If you or a person you know is thinking about harming themselves or others or attempting suicide, contact these resources:

  • Call 911 for emergency services or visit the nearest emergency room.
  • Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or text the Crisis Text Line (text HELLO to 741741).
  • Contact social media outlets if you are concerned about a person’s social media status or dial 911 if it’s an emergency.

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