Americans will never forget on Sept. 11, 2001, watching TV with their mouths open, and their hands covering their mouths as two streaming airplanes crashed into the World Trade Center in New York. Another plane crashed into the Pentagon, and a fourth plane crashed outside Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
Those events happened 19 years ago today. Americans that lost loved ones in those buildings are still trying to recover from that day, and not a day goes by they don’t forget the lives lost. That moment is a seminal moment in life because everyone remembers where they were, what they were doing and who they were with when those tragic events occurred.
Last year, I promised myself I would not get so busy with life, and in my work, that I would forget the 2,977 people that lost their lives that day. I promised I would remember and honor them for what shook America to her core and rewrote history.
Today, America has another opponent threatening our way of life in a way that 9/11 never did. COVID-19 is an enemy Americans didn’t know was coming, and an opponent we can’t see. As of this writing, coronavirus has killed more than 190,000 Americans and has no known cure. The virus is making a reputation built on fear, confusion and loneliness.
Just like the events of 9/11 disrupted life, COVID-19 has interrupted America’s way of life in its own way and created a new normal. Caution and concern have replaced joy and humanity. This pandemic has taken the little things out of life that Americans have taken for granted. Things that give joy, such as hugging someone without a mask, or sharing time in person together. These are things that until now, Americans have never had to worry about doing or enjoying, even after 9/11.
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With 9/11, Americans refused to be afraid of terrorists. They refused to be alone or to quit doing the things that gave them happiness.
Roswell and Chaves County have started school, but it is not school as normal. Remote learning has so far been the new normal during COVID-19.
For Americans, we need human touch and to be involved in things that matter. We need to play games that mean something. Games where there’s a winner and a loser. Where MaxPreps has an official score and a win or loss in the record books forever.
Good news, life is trying to return to normal as the NFL played its season-opening game Thursday night.
New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is doing her best to keep New Mexicans safe while opening up the state, but New Mexico needs to play again. Sports are the one thing that helped Americans fight back and overcome 9/11. Americans needed sports and counted on them. One thing that the COVID-19 pandemic will prove about Americans that 9/11 already proved: Americans have the heart of a champion and we will never give up. Americans are known for resiliency and the ability to overcome long odds to win. We will find a way to overcome this opponent and win.
After the events of 9/11, the one thing that brought this country out of its grief and shock was sports. The country had the World Series between the New York Yankees and Arizona Diamondbacks to capture their attention. Those games have some of the highest ratings in TV history. And the NFL continued to play games. Sports became a rallying point for Americans — a catharsis for us to heal.
Americans need not only professional sports, but college and high school games, as well. On a local level, we need the Roswell Youth Football League to be excited about. It’s not just sports, but kids need to go back to school and be around their friends. Kids need to have teachers give them homework and have structure. Kids need a sense of normalcy.
Society for the last six months has lacked activities for parents and kids to look forward to and bond over. People need a place to go for their day; and they need to wake up in the morning and feel like they have accomplished something. This pandemic is changing the way Americans live their lives in a way that 9/11 never did. It is time for Americans to re-establish a new normal the way we did when 9/11 happened.
School, sports and activities are a way of life for Roswell and Chaves County. Sports in other parts of the country (Utah, Alabama) to name a couple, are starting to come back — we are ready to “Play Again New Mexico.”
Unlike last year when I forgot 9/11, I did not forget this year the events that changed America.
“One of the worst days in America’s history saw some of the bravest acts in Americans’ history. We’ll always honor the heroes of 9/11. And here at this hallowed place, we pledge that we will never forget their sacrifice.” —President George W. Bush
Sports editor J.T. Keith can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 304, or firstname.lastname@example.org.