It was inevitable that as the years since 9/11 passed, the grief would become less intense and the commemorations of the atrocity would become more subdued. So it is probably no surprise that today’s ceremonies on the 11th anniversary of the day Islamist terrorists killed thousands of Americans will be far less imposing than those held last year. The depth of the tragedy is such that for those who experienced it and who lost loved ones, no memorial service can ever suffice to express the sorrow and the anger this day conjures up in the souls of Americans. But just as December 7 eventually became just another day in the calendar, 9/11 will also be transformed into a date in history like Pearl Harbor; a mute reminder of the past rather than the gaping wound it once was.
Yet there is something distinctly unsatisfying, even distasteful about the way Americans are “moving on” from 9/11. The closure from Pearl Harbor was made possible by the sacrifice of millions of American serviceman who secured total victory over the Japanese and their German Nazi allies. After 1945, there could never be a sense of unfinished business about the memory of those lost on the “date that will live in infamy,” as President Franklin Roosevelt memorably expressed it. But 11 years after 9/11, Americans cannot say that. Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of the crime, is dead, as President Obama and his supporters constantly remind us and for that we are thankful. But Al Qaeda is far from destroyed. The Islamist terrorist war against the West is not over and those who act as if it is are doing the country a disservice.